President Donald Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax.
So it’s no surprise that Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, has announced plans to roll back the Clean Power Plan — Obama’s signature pollution-curbing legislation.
Since entering the White House, Trump’s administration has made efforts to revoke or reverse 52 Obama-era environmental polices aimed at fighting the gradual warming of the planet.
Trump has called these polices “stupid” and claimed they are unfair to the fossil fuel industry. The administration’s long string of regulatory rollbacks have also been accompanied by the green-lighting of several projects that Obama had blocked because of their potential negative impacts on the climate. Here are some of the most important:
Rolling back and replacing the Clean Power Plan
What the rule did: The centerpiece of Obama’s climate change policy was designed to curb pollution from coal- and gas-fired power plants. It would have required states to create comprehensive plans to reduce their emissions from energy generation, a strategy that researchers estimated would slash that type of pollution — which currently accounts for a third of all US carbon emissions — by 32% by 2030.
Current status: In March, Trump issued an executive order instructing the EPA to reassess the plan, which has yet to take effect due to legal complications. In October, the EPA said it would repeal it.
Revoked a plan to require higher flood standards for highways and bridges
What the rule did: Required US government agencies to meet higher flood standards for new roads, bridges, and housing developments. Building trade groups and several Republican lawmakers said the rule was too costly. The Obama administration estimated it would have raised construction costs by 0.25% to 1.25%.
Current status: Revoked as of August.
Reversed the ban on new coal leases
What the rule did: Under Obama, the rule banned new coal leases on federal public land, a move the coal industry opposed. However, coal use and production has been declining for years for economic reasons — it is more expensive and less efficient in most parts of the country than natural gas and wind. Coal burning is also the largest source of carbon emissions from electricity generation in the country.
Current status: Revoked as of March.