President Trump has been determined to end the Clean Power Plan (CPP) ever since March, when he signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill the Obama-era plan.
The EPA has yet to formally rescind the environmental plan, but according to a department document obtained by Reuters, it appears as though the agency will announce a repeal of the legislation sometime this week.
The CPP was created during the Obama-era to reduce carbon pollution from the single largest source of U.S. emissions, power plants. Power plants are responsible for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, which is greater than the emissions produced by every car, truck and plane in the country combined.
The CPP required every state to create its own individual plan so that by 2030 the nation's emissions would be reduced by 32 percent below 2005 levels. Obama described it as "the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change."
When the CPP was introduced in 2015, it went through a stringent federal rulemaking process before being published in the Federal Register. But after 27 states challenged the rule, it got hung up in the court system.
When Trump became President, the courts were still examining the legality of the plan. So the new EPA administration asked the courts for more time to figure out a replacement. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals obliged by suspending the examination until this Friday, October 6th.
With the deadline drawing ever closer, it now looks as though the EPA plans on announcing its intention to roll back the rule this week. The agency will issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to ask for public input in order to develop "a rule similarly intended to reduce CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel electric utility generating units."
Implementing such a rule will inevitably be a lengthy process. In order to roll back the CPP and introduce a new plan, the entire rulemaking process, including public input and revisions, must be undertaken again. And even after all of this, the new plan will most likely be legally challenged by several states.
The document does not provide specific details on the plan, and the EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the agency does not "have any updates this time."
For now, all we can do is wait and see.