President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) today that will undo a host of energy regulations imposed by former President Obama. It was signed at EPA headquarters with Trump surrounded by coal miners, and Trump described the Clean Power Plan as a crushing attack on workers and vowed to remove “job-killing regulations.”
We’re going to have safety, we’re going to have clean water, we’re going to have clean air, but so many [regulations] are unnecessary, so many are job-killing, together we are going to start a new energy revolution.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier today that the President is setting a “new course” that is both “pro-jobs” and “pro-environment.” With statements like this coming from the EPA director of all people, it’s clear that the “new course” has nothing to do with clean air, alternative energy investment or job creation. It isn’t hard to figure out that the coal and gas industry are being replaced by automation and it had nothing to do with the Clean Power Plan. He explained that for the last several years, certain industries and sectors were the focus of EPA regulations.
The Clean Power Plan, at the center of legal battles, has been challenged by both Republican-led states and allies of the oil, coal and gas industries. Their lobbies have billions of dollars supporting them and it has become a game of “how many zero’s” will it take to get a politician to fold and support 20th century ideologies instead of 21st ideologies. Oil, coal and gas are finite resources, pollute the atmosphere and have a host of environmental impacts in the abstraction of their raw forms. Solar is plentiful and abundant in vast portions of the United States. Wind is plentiful and abundant on the coasts of the United States and in the ocean. Trump’s attempt at rolling back regulations won’t revive an industry, rather, it will make it more hated when the side effects start impacting large populations of people.
Trump’s EO will chip away at the regulations of the Clean Power Plan, scrapping language on social cost and greenhouse gases. A clear nod to the President’s unwillingness to acknowledge that climate change and greenhouse gases are altering our environment with already devastating consequences beginning to start. The changes in language and scrapping of most of the regulations, it will be difficult for the United States to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement; an agreement Trump has indicated he intends to withdraw from.
Republicans have blamed Obama-era regulations for the loss of coal jobs, but data shows that U.S. mines have been decreasing jobs for decades that spans Presidents from both parties. Increases in automation, competition from natural gas and plummeting costs of solar panels and wind turbines have all contributed to the decline in coal-burning. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy accused the Trump administration of back peddling to
when smokestacks damaged our health and polluted our air, instead of taking every opportunity to support clean jobs of the future.
Our thanks to you President Trump, what will our tax deduction be if we convert back to coal-fired furnaces in our homes?