Now that Donald Trump has won the election, the president-elect has previously promised to quash the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, exit the Paris climate accord, and stop the “war on coal” on his first day in the oval office. Trump has pledged a sea change in how the U.S. addresses climate change and it is infuriating special interest groups and environmentalists.
The new course, though, will be hampered by legal and regulatory hurdles put in place to stop him. Most came from President Obama, who has rolled out more major regulations than any president in U.S. history. Regulations that have devastated coal communities and other disliked energy sectors.
Trump has also promised to revisit and possibly reject the Paris climate accord, a non-binding, unenforceable agreement to curtail carbon dioxide emissions at least 28 percent below 2005 levels. China, however, can continue emitting greenhouse gases and building coal-fired power plants. China has said it will try and slow emissions after 2030, despite ramping up coal production.
Paris accord in limbo?
As for the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump can either ignore it or withdraw from further climate talks. Since Obama bypassed congress by calling it an accord—a treaty requires approval by the Senate—Trump could repeal the executive order Obama used to implement the agreement.
Trump has said he would support an all-of-the-above energy approach, which includes renewables as well as coal. Trump said he won’t sign any regulations that put workers out of work. He said he will stop sending disbursements to the United Nations climate fund, created by an unelected group of bureaucrats that has gotten $500 million from the U.S. Trump has said he would use the money to rebuild America’s aging infrastructure rather than saving so-called climate refugees.
He has said his EPA would focus on its core mission: clean water and clean air. And while he would not involve the U.S. in job-killing accords or picking and choosing who wins in the energy arena, Trump made clear that individual states can still continue to pursue CO2 reductions. He plans to return government oversight on many key issues back to the states, which have been usurped by the Obama administration.
Lawsuits coming for both
What most pundits agree on is that whoever wins, that president will face an avalanche of lawsuits. Experts expect Trump to get his fair share from the litigious environmental lobby, collectively known as Big Green, whose outsized effect on politics has influenced campaigns on local and national levels. And if Trump can’t revoke the Clean Power Plan (CPP) designed to put the coal industry out of business, he can nominate jobs-friendly judges to the Supreme Court.
A Trump EPA would also not pursue the methane rules actively sought by Obama to hamper fracking. He also won’t ban fracking as some special interests supporting #Hillary Clinton want her to do. A new report shows that banning fracking would destroy 14.9 million jobs up and down the employment food chain.
Though Trump plans to help coal communities, the myriad regulations already unleashed by Obama’s EPA will take years to unravel. And if the GOP loses the Senate or has a 51-person majority, not much will get done.
‘Massive resistance to Trump’
Because of fracking and the roll out of natural gas-fired power plants, the U.S. has already reached the 27 percent reduction as required by the CPP. The CPP is still under litigation and will likely end up in front of the Supreme Court. Jamie Henn of 350 Action, an anti-fossil fuel group, said they would organize “massive resistance to Trump policies across the board, including on climate.” Henn forewarned: “President Trump would see a huge and well-organized backlash against any attempts to dismantle environmental policy and defund the EPA.”