On Monday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule designed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking at an event in Hazard, Kentucky, Pruitt announced, "The war on coal is over."
Reported by the New York Times, the announcement fulfills a promise made by President Trump to undo Obama's environmental policies. It also marks a win for Pruitt, who personally led over two dozen states to challenge the rule in the courts when he served as Oklahoma's attorney general.
CNN obtained a leaked copy of the proposal, which states that the Obama administration exceeded its legal authority in enacting the rule and rejects the rule's proposed health benefits.
Critics have already lampooned the EPA’s decision as an attack on the environment.
“A proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan without any timeline or even a commitment to propose a rule to reduce carbon pollution, isn't a step forward, it's a wholesale retreat from EPA's legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change,” former Obama-era EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Friday.
Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resource Defense Council, said his group will be challenging the move in court, saying, “NRDC expects to take EPA to court when the Clean Power Plan repeal is made final.”
However, Pruitt contends that the repeal would save the United States at least $33 billion, as well keep regulatory lawmakers from picking “winners and losers” in the energy sector.
While Pruitt’s and the EPA’s actions currently have the backing of the Supreme Court, many industry groups have suggested that the EPA find a more moderate replacement to the Clean Power Plan, in order to stifle potential court challenges.
Pruitt stated that he will sign the repeal on Tuesday.