Why is the US environmental law in crisis?
By Michael Biesecker, Environmental Protection Agency chief for the second time in three years, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued a sweeping executive order on Thursday to repeal a major law regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
The new rules will affect almost 200 million Americans and the world.
The EPA is now one of the few major federal agencies to be fully autonomous, with no elected officials or political appointees.
The rule is the latest effort by Pruitt, a staunch conservative who has repeatedly cast himself as a champion of the environment.
But the move has drawn strong criticism from environmental groups and even some lawmakers, who have said it is too sweeping and could put the agency in violation of the Clean Air Act and the Constitution.
Pruitt’s new order, which has yet to be finalized, aims to replace the Clean Power Plan, a major rule aimed at curbing greenhouse gas pollution.
The EPA rules aim to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by U.S. power plants and reduce the amount that can be emitted into the atmosphere.
The rule aims to be enforced through 2020, but the Trump administration has signaled it may push back the deadline by a year.
Under the Clean Energy Rule, the EPA aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants by 32 percent between 2020 and 2030.
The agency is proposing to replace that rule with one that would reduce GHG emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Pruitt is expected to unveil the new rule on Thursday.
The regulations were issued last year, following the U.N. climate summit in Paris, and came into effect in late December.
They were intended to reduce emissions from U.A.E. power sources and would have phased out some of the more costly power plants that emit GHGs.
They have since been expanded to cover new coal-burning power plants, and they will extend to natural gas-fired and oil-fired plants, according to EPA officials.
The Clean Power Act, passed by Congress in 1997, requires the U to cut greenhouse gas-emitting power plants or risk an economic recession, although that goal is not legally enforceable.