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Trump plans would reverse Obama's climate push

President Donald Trump during a meeting at the

President Donald Trump during a meeting at the White House on March 22, 2017. Credit: AP

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump plans to sign a far-reaching executive order Tuesday to promote domestic oil, coal and natural gas by reversing much of his predecessor’s efforts to address climate change.

The order lays out a broad plan for the Trump administration to dismantle the architecture that former President Barack Obama built to combat global warming, according to details shared with Bloomberg News. Some of the changes would happen immediately, while others would take years to complete.

The order would compel federal agencies to quickly identify any actions that could burden the production or use of domestic energy resources, including nuclear power, and then work to suspend, revise or rescind the policies unless they are legally mandated, are necessary for the public interest or promote development.

It also would toss out two Obama-era directives that gave consideration of climate change a prominent role in federal rulemaking. One advised government agencies to factor climate change into environmental reviews, such as those governing where oil drilling should take place. The other, called the “social cost of carbon,” is a measure reflecting the potential economic damage from climate change that was used by the Obama administration to justify a suite of regulations.

“This is about making sure that we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to how we do regulation in this country,” Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said on ABC’s "This Week” Sunday.

Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has said he would reorient the government so that U.S. oil and coal producers thrive and steel and auto manufacturers don’t face “job-killing restrictions.” The coming order demonstrates Trump’s commitment to make good on his campaign promises, which helped propel him to victory in industrial strongholds such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The details shared with Bloomberg News reflected the latest draft of the White House order and could change before the announcement, which Pruitt said would happen Tuesday.

While the order will make clear that the target of the planned regulatory rollback should be on policies curbing the production of oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, it also will say the U.S. is well-served when affordable, reliable and clean electricity is produced from a variety of sources, including solar, wind and hydropower.

The order also is set to include a targeted assault on a few specific Obama-era regulations. It would require the Interior Department to lift a moratorium on the sale of new coal leases on federal land and compel the EPA to review, and, “if appropriate,” begin proceedings to suspend, revise or rescind regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan was designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from electricity by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The initiative has been in legal limbo since the Supreme Court stayed it while it was reviewed by a federal appeals court. The Trump administration now is expected ask that court to put the matter on hold to allow it time to revise or undo the measure –– an action environmentalists have vowed to challenge.

Other targeted policies are an EPA rule setting requirements for greenhouse gas emissions for construction of new power plants, and an Interior Department regulation setting mandates on hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells on federal lands. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management said this month that it would begin the process to rescind the regulation, which requires companies to disclose the chemicals they pump underground and to seal off wastewater in storage tanks.

Trump’s executive order also would revoke six specific directives from his predecessor, including Obama’s broad strategy for reducing emissions of methane released from oil and gas operations. Other Obama directives targeted for repeal include one on climate change and national security, and two directives from June 2013 that laid out his climate plans.


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