Pruitt announces withdrawal of Clean Power Plan

Earlier decommissioning dates are being studied and will be presented to the Utilities Board in December, said spokeswoman Amy Trinidad. Power plants would either have to cut back on their emissions or buy credits from utilities elsewhere.

The Trump administration is expected to propose rolling back the Clean Power Plan today, a major step back from policies put in place by the Obama administration to combat climate change.

Pruitt, a 49-year-old Republican, is a known fossil-fuel ally, and repeatedly sued the EPA when he was Oklahoma's state attorney general.

The 11th-hour extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit and the wind Production Tax Credit at the end of 2015 also played a big role in those power sector trends, something Pruitt noted in a Monday announcement that he would repeal the CPP.

Pruitt's agency did not propose a replacement for the CPP, instead asking industry to help shape the next carbon rule.

More than half of Americans also believe changes in the climate as responsible for the severity of recent hurricanes, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in mid-September. His administration has promised to reduce regulations on coal and drilling, which tend to be in states that form part of Trump's voter base.

Prior to the finalization of the rules in August 2015, power plants - which account for almost 40 percent of carbon emissions - "were allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere", said the Union of Concerned Scientists in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if Pruitt would seek to issue a new rule without congressional approval, which Republicans had criticized the Obama administration for doing.

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Some states and environmental groups are already gearing up to fight the repeal.

Pruitt appeared at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at Whayne Supply, a Hazard, Ky., company that sells coal mining supplies. The store's owners have been forced to lay off about 60 percent of its workers in recent years. We are concerned that the ambition for cleaner air and cleaner power generation may be undermined by the elimination of an important vehicle for propelling emissions reductions.

The CPP aims to reduce carbon emissions from USA power plants by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030.

The rule required states to reduce emissions with standards based on their energy consumption and provided incentives for beating deadlines to deploy energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, which Colorado has taken advantage of.

In addition, the EPA is asking for comment on whether it should regulate carbon emissions at all unless Congress specifically tells it to.

"Pruitt is trying to gut the EPA's Supreme Court-confirmed power to regulate unsafe climate pollution so these same companies can avoid accountability for fueling climate chaos", Mitchell said.

Environmentalists are anxious after the Trump administration said the coal industry should not be singled out as a polluter.

"With this news, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt will go down in infamy for launching one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health, our climate, and the safety of every community in the United States", Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. Almost 200 countries have committed to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

  • Sonia Alvarado