Energy Independence order from White House kicks off rethink of Obama-era energy rules

President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C. yesterday that orders a federal government-wide initiative to identify and correct burdensome regulations that are hampering energy production in the United States.

The Clean Power Plan’s (CPP) impact on sources of reliable, domestic electricity production led the Ohio Chamber of Commerce to oppose the rule and to join legal efforts to overturn it. The executive order takes a major step in the direction of undoing the CPP by instructing the attorney general to request that the federal courts allow pending legal challenges against the CPP to be stayed while US EPA works to either withdraw or rewrite the rule.

Yesterday’s action will end the moratorium placed on new coal leases on federal land that the Obama administration instituted in 2016. At that time, the U.S. Department of the Interior began a review of the leasing program to examine its impact on the environment. With the agency itself calculating that nearly 40 percent of all coal mining happens on federal land, reopening these areas for responsible energy production that protects that environment and grows the economy is crucial to continuing the U.S.’s burgeoning energy renaissance.

The president also committed the government to rolling back its use of the “social cost of carbon” metric employed by the previous administration when conducting cost-benefit analysis of proposed rules. The methodology behind the social cost of carbon is open to manipulation that exaggerates the impact of carbon emissions on human health and welfare, leading to the appearance of a proposed rule’s benefits outweighing costs in almost all circumstances.

Finally, agencies were ordered to identify additional rules or policies that impede domestic energy production, a likely reference to current limits on hydraulic fracturing and offshore exploration and production as well as methane regulations on natural gas.

Industrialized states such as Ohio consume energy at higher rates than many states and businesses here face a disproportionate burden of the impact of rules that ultimately raise energy prices. The Ohio Chamber welcomes the executive order and recognizes its potential to keep Ohio businesses competitive; protect domestic, reliable sources of energy; and keep our economy growing.