Trump attempts to stop Biden’s climate plan before it starts

Credit: Richard Hamilton Smith/Getty Images

The Trump administration is attempting to sabotage President-elect Biden’s efforts to mitigate climate change by precluding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from limiting carbon pollution from any stationary source other than power plants.

Under a new rule, the EPA would not be able to set standards for carbon releases from any stationary pollution source that is responsible for less than 3 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Power plants, which are responsible for more than a quarter of U.S. carbon emissions, could still be regulated (as could vehicles, because they are not stationary).

After power plants, oil and gas production and refineries are the next two largest sources of carbon emissions, and they are each responsible for just under 3 percent of them. No, that is not a coincidence. The seemingly arbitrary 3 percent threshold isn’t arbitrary at all—it’s a favor, and an obvious one, to the oil and gas industry.

At the last minute, the Trump administration snuck this threshold into an unrelated rule seeking to relax carbon pollution restrictions from future power plants. The addition has not undergone public comment or other steps required under settled administrative law. As with past Trump initiatives, the sloppy procedural background leaves the rule vulnerable to legal challenge.

The under 3 percent exemption is yet another example of the Trump administration realizing that the end is near and doing everything in its power to prop up its friends in fossil fuels.


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