On Monday, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced that the EPA would set about repealing the Clean Power Plan. The end of the Obama-era policy has been a long time coming, but its final death rattle has triggered a wave of anti-energy protests from both private organizations and state governments.
While these protests boil up, however, individual states have taken it upon themselves to pioneer their own environmental future. You know, rather than moan and groan in idle.
The Death of the Clean Power Plan
In June, Donald Trump heralded the end of the Clean Power Plan in no uncertain terms. The 2015 legislative move by the Obama era was intended to force companies and states to shift to energy sources with fewer carbon emissions. The real goal of the Clean Power Plan was to kill of the US coal industry, not halt the progress of US energy independence.
As a result, the Clean Power Plan was just fine on paper when it was enacted in 2015. In 2017, however, the legislation’s purpose — the death of the US coal industry — has been accomplished in fine fashion. Coal is an industry that can’t be saved.
Its primary purpose complete, the Clean Power Plan is now serving not to save the environment, but to stymie the growth of the US energy industry. EPA director Pruitt said abolition of this harmful legislation would, “facilitate the development of U.S. energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources.”
Anti-Fracking Protestos Are Livid
On cue, anti-fracking protestors kicked up a cloud of dust. The plan to overturn the Clean Power Plan has been decried by both prominent environmental groups and several states.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the EPA’s plan “reprehensible,” and maintained that he would, “use every available legal tool to fight” against it.
The States Don’t Need the Federal Government for Leadership
Those people mourning the loss of a federal mandate that forces states and businesses to become more energy conscious are overlooking one major fact: states and energy companies are taking steps all on their own, without prompting from the federal government.
In September, Exxon Mobile announced a plan to reduce methane emissions. In early October, Shell announced that the American Petroleum Institute was “very, very close” to adopting a comprehensive program that would substantially curb methane emissions across the industry. Most expect that plan to go into effect in January.
On the state-government level, several governors, state’s attorneys, and representatives of every level have taken it upon themselves to supplement the lack of federal oversight with new rules and regulations. In the impending absence of the Clean Power Plan, states have begun to take the initiative to draft legislation that works for their individual circumstances.
Environmentalism Is a State Issue
The problem with the Clean Power Plan is simple. Rules that work for New York and California don’t work for Colorado and Wyoming. Universal legislation like the Clean Power Plan is a fundamental denial of the environmental diversity of the United States.
The outrage that protestors exhibit in the wake of the EPA’s announcement overlooks the very fact that states are perfectly capable of enacting legislation that is in the best interests of their citizens. Pruitt’s announcement isn’t a failure of the federal government, it’s a win for every state.