Before Obama was elected president, he infamously said that he intended to create a cap and trade policy that would bankrupt the coal industry. Though his policy never came to fruition, he continued to target the coal industry with regulations like the “Clean Power Plan,” which was introduced in 2014. The regulation was designed to cut carbon emissions produced by power plants to 32% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.
However the Clean Power Plan in its current form is now on its way out. President Trump signed the “Energy Independence” executive order on Tuesday, which will effectively gut the regulation. However, Trump doesn’t have the authority to do this overnight, nor is the regulation being completely removed. Rather, it is being rewritten. Because of that, it will take the EPA over a year to go through the regulation line by line, and ask the administration why each rule needs to be rewritten or removed.
The executive order is being viewed as a fulfillment of President Trump’s campaign promise to roll back Obama era regulations that were hurting the coal industry, and bring jobs back to coal mining states that voted for him. Since signing the order, his critics in the mainstream media have pointed out that rolling back these regulations isn’t likely to bring back the coal industry. The government’s own projections suggest that it will only bring back a few jobs, and power companies were already moving away from coal and switching over to more affordable and energy-efficient fuels like natural gas.
There’s a very good chance that those sources are right. However, what they’re saying is still an indictment against the environmental policies of the Obama administration. After all, if coal was already on its way out, why did Obama try to scrap an entire industry and kill tens of thousands of jobs prematurely?
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