President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday, rescinding former President Obama’s climate change initiatives. Promoting the measures as “energy independence,” Trump hopes to create jobs and reinvigorate America’s coal and natural gas industries.
A three-year moratorium on new federal coal leases will be lifted, and a review of the Clean Power Plan will be initiated. The Clean Power Plan restricted greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants, which Trump has widely criticized as an attack on American workers.
The order is expected to delve further into the Obama administration's climate agenda with reviews on methane emission from oil and natural gas production and a look into the Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracturing rule. In addition to the various climate-oriented reviews, the Trump administration seeks to change the language of the “social cost of carbon” greenhouse gasses and to rescind memoranda and executive orders of the previous administration addressing climate change, national security, and preparedness for the impacts of climate change.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration or EIA, renewables, such as those generated by wind and solar will overtake coal electricity generation by 2029.
This data was reaffirmed by some experts, such as Mark Barteau, director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute, who called the effort to bring back coal “nonsense,” stating, “Coal is not coming back. It’s going to continue to lose to cheap natural gas.”
Likewise, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement, “This is not just dangerous; it's embarrassing to us and our businesses on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and US leadership."
While scientists strongly oppose the undoing of Obama’s climate change legacy, others argue there is little doubt that energy regulations have been costly to small business and the American worker. Spokesmen for the Trump administration claim the efforts of Trump’s executive order are focused around finding middle ground.
CNN reports that a White House official briefed on the plan said Monday that the administration believes the government can both “serve the environment and increase energy independence at the same time.”
"It is an issue that deserves attention," the official said of climate change. "But I think the President has been very clear that he is not going to pursue climate change policies that put the US economy at risk. It is very simple."
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt told environmentalists and scientists earlier this month that he doesn’t believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. In an interview Sunday with ABC News, Pruitt said, “For too long, we have accepted a narrative that if you’re pro-growth, pro-jobs, you’re anti-environment. The executive order will address the past administration’s effort to kill jobs throughout the country through the Clean Power Plan.”
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