Environment, Science

Trump Expected To Roll Back Obama’s Climate Change Plan

Plant Scherer, near Macon, is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the country.
Plant Scherer, near Macon, is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the country.
Credit Gene Blythe / Associated Press
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President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week that would begin dismantling one of the Obama administration’s key climate change rules.

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The Clean Power Plan is meant to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Georgia officials have opposed the rule, which requires states to implement their own plans to meet federal requirements for emissions reductions. And before Trump took office, the state sent a letter to his administration with legal advice on how to undo the plan.

The Clean Power Plan has never gone into effect because two dozen states, including Georgia, sued to block it.

Still, many coal-fired power plants have closed anyway, because natural gas is cheaper than coal.

“Market forces, particularly with gas prices being so low, have created a great deal of momentum in the right direction,” said Marilyn Brown, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy. “But those are all really short-term advances. The question is, what are we going to be able to do to meet the longer-term goals? There’s so much uncertainty.”

An executive order from the president would not immediately dismantle the Clean Power Plan. It’s a process that could end up taking years.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review a clean water rule finalized by the Obama administration. The EPA is also expected to begin rolling back car emissions regulations.

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