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Legally Speaking - May 2017


Trump’s Executive Order on the Clean Power Plan Signals Potential Shifts in Coal Industry

In the last Legally Speaking column of Coal Age, author Jason Moore discussed the expectation that President Donald Trump would sign an executive order concerning the Clean Power Plan (CPP) — an Obama administration policy focused on significantly reducing carbon pollution to address climate change — in the very imminent future, as well as some of the anticipated impacts. As expected, President Trump issued an executive order on March 28 entitled the “Energy Independence Executive Order.” This order comes as no surprise given Trump’s repeated promise during his campaign about his intention to dismantle the CPP entirely.

The executive order issues the following directive: “The heads of agencies shall review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions (collectively, agency actions) that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy resources.” Specifically, Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, is directed to “immediately take all steps necessary” to review the CPP, “and, if appropriate, shall, as soon as practicable, suspend, revise, or rescind the guidance, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising or rescinding” the CPP. Following the order’s issuance, Pruitt signed a Federal Register notice announcing that the EPA was reviewing and, “if appropriate, will initiate proceedings to suspend, revise or rescind the Clean Power Plan.”

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