Trump Signs Executive Order Rescinding Obama Climate Policies
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order intended to roll back most of former President Barack Obama’s climate-change legacy. Trump said the move will promote energy independence and restore thousands of lost coal industry jobs.
In Washington on Tuesday afternoon, the president signed a short document titled the, “Energy Independence” executive order that directs the Environmental Protection Agency to start the legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan.
The order will also lift a short-term ban on new coal mining on public lands.
President Trump has advertised the executive order as a way to decrease the nation’s dependence on imported fuels and revive the flailing coal industry, but energy economists say the order falls short in both categories, in part because the United States already largely relies on domestic sources for the coal and natural gas that fires most of the nation’s power plants.
“We don’t import coal,” said Robert N. Stavins, an energy economist at Harvard University. “So in terms of the Clean Power Plan, this has nothing to do with so-called energy independence whatsoever.”
Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, said that the order will help the United States “be both pro-jobs and pro-environment.”
It could potentially take years for the Trump administration to unwind the Clean Power Plan, which has not yet been carried out because it has been temporarily frozen by a Supreme Court order. The regulations outlined in the plan sought to cut planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants. If enacted, they would have shut down hundreds of those plants, frozen construction of future plants and replaced them with wind and solar farms and other renewable energy sources.