In a victory for the NFIB and small business owners, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency initiated a formal proposal to rescind the Clean Power Plan, which burdens small businesses and their customers by heightening energy costs.
This week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt filed a proposal to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which required that states use energy sources other than coal to reduce carbon emissions. According to The New York Times, Pruitt argued that the Obama administration had no legal authority to implement the environmental regulation and that the repeal could save the United States around $33 billion.
“The EPA and no federal agency should ever use its authority to say to you: we are going to declare war on any sector of our economy,” Pruitt said during his announcement on Monday in Hazard, Kentucky.
The 2015 Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce power sector emissions by 32 percent under 2005 levels by 2030, according to Politico. NFIB, along with 24 states and other industry groups, challenged the regulation in a lawsuit and asked that a federal court issue an injunction. The Supreme Court temporarily stopped the regulation last year by issuing a stay while courts considered the case.
“We are grateful to President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for initiating this process,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The Clean Power Plan is an example of regulatory overreach, and it would be a massive drain on the small business economy.”
A legal opinion from 2009, commonly known as the endangerment finding, requires the EPA to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, so the EPA will still have to set standards for states.
The next steps for repeal include a public-comment period, which could last months. Pruitt will consider a replacement regulation and will seek public input as well, but there is no current timeline for that process.
The Clean Power Plan would have driven up costs for businesses and their customers by making electricity more expensive.
“Small business owners depend heavily on affordable, reliable electricity,” Duggan said. “The CPP would drive up operating expenses for small businesses, and it would discourage consumer spending. It would force small businesses to spend more on overhead, and it would leave their customers with less money to spend at their businesses.” The EPA’s move to repeal the Clean Power Plan is a win for business, as energy costs remain a top concern for small business owners.