Trump Admin Ends Clean Power Plan, Buries Head in Sand
October 10, 2017
WASHINGTON--Third Way Vice President for Clean Energy Josh Freed released the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Clean Power Plan:
"EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan was completely expected. That doesn’t make the action any less stupid. This is the energy equivalent of trying to force our country to stick with dial-up when all of our economic competitors are going fiber-optic.
As the chair of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Ted J. Thomas, told the New York Times,
Even if they repeal the Clean Power Plan, or replace it with something that doesn’t require us to do very much, you still have to reckon with the fact that ultimately regulations on carbon are coming…You can either be prepared or unprepared, and that’s a pretty simple choice.”
Mr. Thomas got the essence of what the Clean Power Plan accomplished:
It essentially ratified business-as-usual trends by the US power sector into regulation. Emissions continue to go down because of cheap natural gas, the rapid growth of renewables, and state-level policy. As long as natural gas prices remain at record lows, this will continue. What the Clean Power Plan did do was provide a backstop against a switch back from natural gas to coal if natural gas prices increased – even by as little as $1-2 per MMBTU. It also provided incentives for the construction of new nuclear power plants and could have helped save existing plants, depending on how states decided to comply with the regulation.
But with Administrator Pruitt’s announcement, all of that goes out the window. In its place is a period of turmoil and uncertainty at just the time almost every other country in the world is taking action to grow their clean energy sector. The Administration may think ending the Clean Power Plan is a good talking point in its effort to “save coal,” but not only is the justification they use typically inaccurate, it is bad for American business, competitiveness, and the climate."
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