The EPA is expected to propose a repeal of the Clean Power Plan as early as this week, and then start the process of creating a new climate plan.
Reuters obtained a copy of the yet-to-be issued proposal on Wednesday. There had been some questions over whether EPA would simply repeal the Obama-era climate rules for power plants, or propose a replacement rule. According to the proposal, it appears EPA will do both.
The Clean Power Plan was former President Barack Obama's signature climate rule for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. President Trump has targeted the rule since his campaign for president last year, and has made eliminating it a top priority of both his deregulation and energy dominance agendas.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Washington Examiner last month that his team was looking at developing a power plan that fits within existing law, while being clear that dismantling the rule was the priority.
"What we are doing right now with the Clean Power Plan is determining what is our authority to fill the space beyond the withdrawal of the Clean Power Plan," Pruitt said.
Pruitt wouldn't say for certain if the EPA would propose a new version of the Clean Power Plan, or if the agency will only seek to repeal the Obama plan.
It is important "to send a very clear message that the deficient rules are being withdrawn," Pruitt said. "So, we have a withdrawal process in place to get rid of the Clean Power Plan rule."
Pruitt, as former attorney general of Oklahoma, was part of a 27-state lawsuit opposing the Clean Power Plan in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to allow the EPA time to review the climate plan and decide whether to repeal or re-propose it. The court's deadline for EPA to act comes at the end of the week.
Although the Supreme Court had stayed the rule until the litigation is resolved, the appeals court, which heard oral arguments a year ago, has sent no signals on how it would rule.
Groups that support the Obama-era climate plan have said they will sue the Trump administration no matter what Pruitt decides to do — repeal or replace.
A replacement rule for the Clean Power Plan is expected to give regulatory incentives for coal power plants to make efficiency improvements.
EPA did not respond to a request for comment at press time.