Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), proposing to repeal the so-called “Clean Power Plan (CPP).” After reviewing the CPP, EPA has proposed to determine that the Obama-era regulation exceeds the Agency’s statutory authority. Repealing the CPP will also facilitate the development of U.S. energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources, in keeping with the principles established in President Trump’s Executive Order on Energy Independence.“The Obama administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far with the CPP that the Supreme Court issued a historic stay of the rule, preventing its devastating effects to be imposed on the American people while the rule is being challenged in court,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate. Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.CPP Appears to be Inconsistent with the Clean Air ActThe CPP, issued by the Obama administration, was premised on a novel and expansive view of Agency authority that the Trump administration now proposes to determine is inconsistent with the Clean Air Act. In fact, the CPP was put on hold in February 2016, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unprecedented, historic stay of the rule.“EPA will respect the limits of statutory authority. The CPP ignored states’ concerns and eroded longstanding and important partnerships that are a necessary part of achieving positive environmental outcomes. We can now assess whether further regulatory action is warranted; and, if so, what is the most appropriate path forward, consistent with the Clean Air Act and principles of cooperative federalism,” said Administrator Pruitt.The CPP was issued pursuant to a novel and expansive view of authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The CPP required regulated entities to take actions “outside the fence line.” Traditionally, EPA Section 111 rules were based on measures that could be applied to, for, and at a particular facility, also referred to as “inside the fence line” measures. Prior to the CPP being issued, every single Section 111 rule on the books, including a handful of existing source rules and around 100 new-source rules, obeyed this limit. As the CPP departed from this traditional limit on EPA’s authority under an “inside the fence line” interpretation, EPA is proposing to repeal it.
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