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Roby declares, “The war on coal is over”

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, October 10, 2017, U.S. Representative Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, announced in an email to constituents that, “The war on coal is over.”  Roby was referencing orders given by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rolling back controversial Obama era rules.

Congresswoman Roby said, “Great news! This morning Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt announced that the Trump Administration is formally withdrawing the so-called “clean power plant” rule that sought to force states into unrealistic carbon emission standards.”

Representative Roby continued, “You may remember that President Obama previously vetoed our bill rescinding this EPA rule back in 2015. This EPA regulation was not only an unlawful overreach of executive authority, it also unfairly picked winners and losers in the energy industry by heavily favoring wind and solar companies.”

Roby said, “Most everyone agrees we should be developing cleaner, more sustainable energy sources for the future. In fact, market demand and extraordinary advances in technology have led to greater use of cleaner energies, including natural gas. However, the heavy hand of the federal government is unwelcome and unduly disruptive in this process, and states like Alabama end up paying the price.”

“I applaud President Trump and Secretary Pruitt’s decision to rein in the EPA’s federal overreach. Moving forward, I encourage the EPA to consider input from public utilities and energy cooperatives on how to increase efficiency and reduce emissions before handing down blanket mandates,” the conservative congresswoman announced.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made the same announcement that , “The war on coal is over” in a speech on October 9 in Hazard, Kentucky.  On October 10, in Washington Pruitt signed an order rescinding an Obama administration order that would have required American power plants to lower total emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels.  Many industry experts said that the Obama order was impossible to achieve without major ramifications for the American economy.  The 2014 plan had never gone into effect.  It was simply an order from Washington, that was never approved by the Congress, that following administrations were supposed to enforce.  On Tuesday, the Trump Administration announced that it would not enforce those orders.

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Pruitt said in his speech in Hazard, “When you think about what that rule meant, it was about picking winners and losers. Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers.  The past administration was using every bit of power and authority to use the EPA to pick winners and losers and how we generate electricity in this country. That’s wrong.”

As the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA, often with legal and technical assistance from the American energy community.  As EPA Administrator Pruitt is rolling back the regulations he fought in the federal courts.  Now desperate environmentalists are expected to bring suit to fight Pruitt’s EPA and his rejection of Obama era rules like the Clean Power Plan.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump promised “We will eliminate… the Clean Power Plan—these unilateral plans will increase monthly electric bills by double-digits without any measurable improvement in the climate.”

In March, President Donald J. Trump (R) issued his Energy Independence Policy in which he stated that, “The previous Administration’s Clean Power Plan could cost up to $39 billion a year and increase electricity prices in 41 States by at least ten percent, according to NERA Economic Consulting.  The Clean Power Plan would cause coal production to fall by 242 million tons, according to the National Mining Association.  27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric co-ops, and 3 labor unions are challenging the Clean Power Plan in Federal court.”

Trump’s March Executive Order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend, revise, or rescind four actions related to the Clean Power Plan that would stifle the American energy industry.  President Trump’s Executive Order directs the Attorney General to seek appropriate relief from the courts over pending litigation related to the Clean Power Plan.

President Trump’s Executive Order rescinds Executive and Agency actions centered on the previous administration’s climate change agenda that have acted as a road block to energy independence.  President Trump’s Executive Order lifts the ban on Federal leasing for coal production.  President Trump’s Executive Order lifts job-killing restrictions on the production of oil, natural gas, and shale energy.  President Trump’s Executive Order directs all agencies to conduct a review of existing actions that harm domestic energy production and suspend, revise, or rescind actions that are not mandated by law.”

The President ordered all agencies, including the EPA, to finalize their plans within 180 days and “To use the best available science and economics in regulatory analysis, which was not utilized by the previous administration.”  Trump’s order also disbanded the controversial Interagency Working Group (IWG) on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases.

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Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional district.  She was first elected in 2010 and is now serving in her fourth term in the United States House of Representatives.


Original reporting by CNN’s Daniella Diaz, Miranda Green and Rene Marsh contributed to this report.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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