Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trump Issues Executive Order Calling For Review Of Energy, Clean Power Plan, Methane Regs

President Trump Tuesday issued an Executive Order calling on all federal agencies to “immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.”
Particular attention is to be paid to the “burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources.  Such review shall not include agency actions that are mandated by law, necessary for the public interest…”
The Order has several parts: 1) general review of agency regulations and requirements related to energy; 2) rescinding orders and other guidance issued by President Obama related to climate change; 3) directing EPA to review the Clean Power Plan and its related rules and agency actions; 4) review of the analysis of social costs of carbon, nitrous oxide and methane; and 5) other provisions requiring the review of the oil and gas operations emission standards, among others.
Regulation Review
The Order requires agencies to submit a plan for carrying out the regulations review within 45 days to the federal Office of Management and Budget, the Vice President, the Assistants to the President for Economic Policy, Domestic Policy and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.  
Within 120 days of the Order agencies are to submit a draft final report on their review report to OMB and the other offices.  The report is to be finalized within 180 days.
Rescinding Actions
The Order also rescinds four Executive Orders and Presidential Memorandum issued by President Obama relating to climate change and carbon pollution.
Also rescinded were two reports-- The 2013 President’s Climate Action Plan and the 2014 Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions-- and the CEQ Final Guidance for Considering Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews.
Review Of Clean Power Plan
The Order requires EPA to review the Clean Power Plan under the criteria established in the Order (and repeated here in the lede paragraph) and “as soon as practicable, suspend, revise, or rescind the guidance, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding those rules.”
Also included is a directive to the Attorney General to provide notice of the Order to any court with jurisdiction over pending litigation related to Clean Power Plan rules and requirements and request a stay in the litigation pending the completion of this review.
[Note: EPA’s Clean Power Plan never went into effect due to a stay by the U.S. Supreme Court issued in February 2016.  Recent impacts on the coal industry and closing of coal-fired power plants were entirely market-driven, especially in Pennsylvania due to the abundance of natural gas.]
Review of Carbon, NOx and Methane Social Costs
The Order requires EPA to review the estimates of the social cost of carbon, nitrous oxide and methane regulations and requirements to ensure the analyses are based on the best available science and economics.
The Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases is disbanded and six documents developed by the group are to be withdrawn as “no longer representative of governmental policy.”
The Order also requires any analysis monetizing the value of changes in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from regulations be done consistent with existing 2003 OMB guidance for regulatory cost-benefit analysis.
Other Provisions
There are several other more specific sections in the Order, including--
-- Oil & Gas Methane Rule: Requiring the review of the federal methane rule consistent with the criteria in the order 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 those rules.”  [Note: DEP has proposed to modify and adopt two general air quality permits to comply with this requirement.  Comments are due June 5.]
-- Federal Lands Coal Leasing: The Order requires the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to withdraw the Secretary’s Order prohibiting the leasing of coal on federal lands.
Click Here to read a copy of the Order.  Click Here for a summary of the Order by the Trump Administration.
Click Here for copies of all of President Trump’s Executive Orders.  Click Here for copies of Presidential Memoranda.

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