- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 26, 2017

President Trump this week will sign an executive order to begin unraveling the Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Sunday, the first step in the lengthy process of dismantling the central piece of former President Obama’s climate-change agenda.

The plan, which would limit carbon emissions from power plants and greatly reduce coal’s share of U.S. power generation, was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court and has not gone into full effect.

Still, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pruitt have said that formally eliminating the plan and returning certainty to the energy marketplace will drive down electricity prices and create jobs.

“For too long, over the last several years, we’ve accepted a narrative that if you’re pro-growth, pro-jobs, you’re anti-environment. If you’re pro-environment, you’re anti-jobs or anti-growth,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”

“That’s just not where we’ve been as a country throughout our existence. We’ve made tremendous progress on our environment and we can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment, and the executive order’s going to address the past administration’s effort to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan,” Mr. Pruitt said.

The former Oklahoma attorney general predicted that getting rid of the plan would bring back coal mining and manufacturing jobs across the U.S.

Mr. Pruitt sued to halt the order while Oklahoma attorney general, one of several states that kept the plan tied up in the courts.

The executive order targeting the Clean Power Plan will be signed Tuesday, he said.

The executive order, however, is just the first step in what will be a complex process. The EPA still must hold public hearings, accept public comments, consult with stakeholders, and likely face numerous lawsuits in its effort to eliminate the Clean Power Plan altogether.

The process of removing the program from the books is expected to take at least one year, possibly longer.

Supporters of Mr. Obama’s plan, including some Democratic-led states and environmental groups, argue it will create thousands of clean-energy jobs and help the U.S. meet ambitious goals to reduce carbon pollution set by an international agreement reached in Paris in late 2015.

Mr. Pruitt called the Paris accord on climate change a “bad deal” because he said it went too easy on China and India, who are among the world’s leading producers of carbon dioxide.

“So we’ve penalized ourselves through lost jobs while China and India didn’t take steps to address the issue internationally,” he said. “So Paris was just a bad deal, in my estimation.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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