Another America First campaign promise kept!
President Trump on Tuesday signed a far-reaching executive order that dismantles many of the pillars of his predecessor’s climate-change agenda and, the White House argues, accelerates the U.S. down the road toward energy independence, according to The Washington Times.
Speaking at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, Mr. Trump cast his action as a major step forward for the U.S. economy and as a removal of shackles from the energy sector. Officials also declared that the executive order represents the formal end to the “war on coal” that had become a hallmark of the Obama administration’s environmental policies.
“The action I’m taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom, and allow our companies and our workers to thrive, compete, and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time,” Mr. Trump said, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and other administration officials.
“We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” he continued.
The order tackles a host of climate-change regulations put in place by the Obama administration and expands fossil-fuel production. One of the biggest pieces is a new directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to start unraveling the Clean Power Plan, the first set of national limits on carbon emissions from power plants and a proposal explicitly designed to shrink coal’s share of American power generation.
The order also phases out national restrictions on methane emissions and removes the so-called “social cost of carbon” equation from the books.
The social cost of carbon attempted to put a price on the cost of each ton of carbon emissions. Those calculations were then used to economically justify environmental regulations.
More broadly, the order also rescinds the Obama administration’s “Climate Action Plan,” a comprehensive blueprint that served as the underpinning for a government-wide effort to tackle greenhouse-gas emissions.
The order also revokes a moratorium on new coal-mining leases on federal lands. That action, combined with the move to start undoing the Clean Power Plan, signifies the end of a regulatory assault on coal, the administration said.
“The war on coal is over,” Mr. Pence said, directly addressing a group of miners in the room.
But the far-reaching order is viewed as a declaration of war by environmental groups.
“Donald Trump’s executive order would let dirty power plants spew unlimited pollution into our air while ignoring the climate crisis, unraveling protections that are designed to save billions of dollars, and thousands of lives. In fact, Trump’s sweeping order is the single biggest attack on climate action in U.S. history, period,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.
Others argue there will be real-world consequences for Tuesday’s flurry of action.
“This is a shameful display of his contempt for protecting public health and the environment,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. “Instead of waking up each day with the goal of protecting the American people, as a president should, Trump seems hell-bent on the destroying programs in place to safeguard public health and the environment.”
Energy industry groups, on the other hand, praised the action and said it’s long past time to shrink Washington’s regulatory footprint. They also point out that U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions have been steadily declining and will continue to do so because of technological advances and market shifts toward natural gas over coal, not federal regulation.