Wicker Says Good Riddance to So-Called ‘Clean Power Plan’

Environmental Protection Agency Proposes Rule to Repeal Major Overreach of Obama Era

October 16, 2017

The Trump Administration is continuing its ambitious rollback of harmful federal regulations – this time taking steps to undo one of the most onerous and costly rules of the Obama era.

Earlier this year, President Trump issued an executive order for U.S. energy independence, calling for a review of the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan.”  The inaccurately titled plan, which would have crippled America’s coal-fired energy production, has been stuck in legal limbo, with the Supreme Court blocking its implementation last year.  On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule for the plan’s repeal, asserting the Obama Administration had exceeded its executive authority. 

Rule Would Not Have Produced Cleaner Air

As a member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, I have been an outspoken opponent of the so-called “Clean Power Plan” since its inception.  As a signature item of the Obama Administration’s sweeping environmental agenda, the plan is both unlawful and intrusive, threatening to lay off American workers and increase electricity bills.  Its aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has always been more about the Obama Administration’s war on coal than about cleaner air.  As I have repeatedly stated, I do not believe Washington should be in the business of picking industry winners and losers, potentially disrupting Americans’ access to reliable and affordable energy in the process. 

President Trump understands what the “Clean Power Plan” would do to our economy – in particular, that its regulatory overreach and courtroom battles would stifle growth.  By forcing unrealistic requirements on states to cut CO2 emissions, the rules were estimated to cost billions with little or no change in global temperatures.  It was no surprise when the majority of states, including Mississippi, launched a legal challenge.  Simply put, the federal government should not ask more of the American people without producing results in return. 

Our nation’s energy sector is strong, employing millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Mississippians.  Our focus, as President Trump’s executive order directed, should be on achieving U.S. energy independence – not precluding certain energy resources and forcing states to comply with excessive regulations that needlessly make existing energy infrastructure obsolete.

‘The Least Regulatory President’

I am glad that President Trump is following up on campaign promises to stem Washington overregulation.  In fact, hundreds of unnecessary rules have been withdrawn so far this year.  The Washington Examiner reports that the Trump Administration has far surpassed its 2-for-1 plan when it comes to regulatory cuts, removing an astonishing 16 regulations for every new rule.  Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit public policy group, writes that “President Trump compared to his predecessors is – so far – the least regulatory president of all,” noting his reductions to the Federal Register and number of proposed rules.

I will continue to support President Trump’s fight against burdensome regulations.  The repeal of the “Clean Power Plan” is a prime example of his Administration’s commitment to reining in Washington power grabs and putting the American people – and American energy – first.