Repealing the CPP while that finding stands would create problems in court, and eliminating the finding would take a good deal more than an executive order, even though Trump in March issued an executive order commanding Pruitt to dismantle the plan and subsequently told an audience he had already dumped it.
But, as Abrahm Lustgarten wrote last year:
“Attempting to overturn the endangerment finding would be like running toward a machine gun,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “Scientific support was very strong when it was issued in 2009; it has become much stronger since then.” [...]
The agency’s conclusion rested on thousands of pages of peer-reviewed research, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, from the U.S. Global Climate Research Program, and from the National Research Council. The agency wrote its rules and subjected them to public criticism. The public submitted voluminous comments, all of which were reviewed by the EPA before it issued a final rule.
Thus, fearing that eliminating the CPP without a replacement would leave them in a bind with the Supreme Court ruling requiring that carbon emissions be regulated, fossil fuel industrialists and their allies urged the White House to take a different tack—creating a weak plan to protect industry on the legal front. Thus, repeal and replace.
However, the exact approach has apparently not yet been decided. And nobody at the EPA would comment to reporters on the internal document, the timing of action on the regime’s proposal, or even when it will be announced.
So we’re left with speculation.
Instead of a wholesale repeal, the EPA could choose to gut the existing CPP and fill in the blanks with something much weaker rather than eliminating it altogether. The outcome, of course, would be the same: Fewer carbon emissions would be curtailed, the time-frame for making reductions might be extended, and other changes could be made, all this good enough to meet any objections from the judiciary.
Whether this repair-to-replace approach is taken or the CPP actually is repealed and replaced with an entirely new plan is unlikely to make much difference in terms of how long it takes to come up with a reversal. Producing the original rule took three years to write, scrutinize public comments and deal with a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s endangerment ruling. Changing or fully replacing the CPP would presumably take a similar amount of time. By then, a new administration might be in the White House and the destruction or weakening of the CPP could be re-reversed.
As depressing as the news of the regime’s approach to the CPP is, there’s good news on this front this week as well. Renewable energy, thanks to state requirements and the market, is rapidly growing in spite of what the White House is doing. Two new reports show that new solar installations are exceeding expectations and breaking records. The faster-than-anticipated spread of renewables, while not making the CPP moot, could lessen the impact of its repeal and replacement when and if that comes to pass.