Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will sign a proposed rule on Tuesday to repeal the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan restrictions on coal plants, he announced Monday morning in the coal-mining state of Kentucky.
"Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers," Pruitt said alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
The plan has been on ice since February 2016, when the Supreme Court blocked it as it worked its way through the courts. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from more than two dozen states and over 100 industry groups challenging the Obama-era rules in September 2016, but has not ruled on the case.
Pruitt said the withdrawal of the plan, which requires states to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions one-third by 2030, would come Tuesday. Many climate scientists blame greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels for driving manmade climate change.
A leaked copy of the proposal shows that Pruitt will seek to repeal the 2015 plan and then ask for comments from the energy industry and others on a possible replacement rule that is legal under the Clean Air Act.
The states had argued in the D.C. Circuit Court that the EPA overstepped the bounds of the Clean Air Act, which is where EPA derives its authority to regulate power plants. Since the climate rules go far beyond regulating power plants, and turn instead to regulating statewide greenhouse gas emissions, the Clean Power Plan is illegal, which is Pruitt's thinking. Pruitt, as Oklahoma's attorney general, was one of the people challenging the rule in court.
Killing off the regulation is a key piece of President Trump's agenda and a campaign promise to keep to the coal industry. Trump directed Pruitt to take the action in an executive order he signed earlier this year.
Katie Leach contributed to this report.