Reaction mixed to Trump’s repeal

March 31, 2017 GMT

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order repealing the Clean Power Plan.

On Wednesday, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Montana to block Trump’s order.

A coalition of 16 states and the District of Columbia also said they will oppose any effort to withdraw the Clean Power Plan.

Wyoming’s congressional delegation lauded the president’s action to “end the war on coal,” as Trump described it Tuesday, despite evidence that coal may no longer be competitive with renewables and natural gas, which experienced great growth under the Obama administration.

“It is an important day for energy-producing states like Wyoming,” said U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “The Obama administration’s punishing regulations have done far more harm to our economy than good for the environment. I applaud President Trump for taking action on behalf of America’s families and energy workers. Federal agencies will now have the opportunity to identify ways to improve the environment without hurting job growth.”

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The executive order rescinds a number of Obama climate-related initiatives, including the Council on Environmental Quality’s National Environmental Policy Act relating to greenhouse gases, the Bureau of Land Management’s coal-leasing moratorium, the Presidential Memorandum on Mitigation and the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases.

It also directs the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior to review and potentially suspend, revise or rescind regulations affecting the oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and electric-generation sectors of our economy.

“Obama-era policies aimed to destroy our fossil fuel industry,” said U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. “They killed jobs and threatened economic instability in communities across the country and especially in Wyoming. In particular, the coal moratorium, imposed by the Obama administration and lifted today by President Trump, was nothing short of a war on coal miners and their families.”

However, according to a report by The New York Times on Tuesday, lifting environmental regulations and ending the moratorium on coal leases will not save coal.

“By the end of last year, 29 states had adopted rules to replace a substantial share of fossil fuel electricity production with cleaner power,” the Times reported. “A recent report from Morningstar, which provides investment research, concluded that state mandates would continue to push the growth of renewables, and that efficiency upgrades in technology to generate natural gas would make it even harder for aging coal plants to compete.”

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It’s not just states that are moving away from fossil fuels as their primary source of energy. RE100, a collaborative, global initiative made up of 89 of the world’s largest companies — including Coca-Cola, Nike, Walgreens, Apple, Facebook and GM — have committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity in the near future.

Nevertheless, U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., believes the executive order can in fact revive the coal industry.

“We in Wyoming know the importance of coal and understand its value,” he said. “We should be working to help support those jobs, not looking for ways to put those workers out of business.”