Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor, on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) taking formal steps to repeal the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan rule.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Last week, the Trump administration took a very important step to end the war on coal and American energy.
“The Environmental Protection Agency said that it has begun the formal process to roll back the Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan.
“This plan was the cornerstone of the Democratic efforts to destroy the reliable forms of energy that American public continues to use today.
“My goal is to make energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising costs on American families.
“The Trump administration wants exactly the same thing.
“The steps it announced last week will help provide greater energy security, more jobs, and a stronger economy.
“This is exactly what President Trump promised that he would do.
“It is exactly what the American people voted for last November.
“Americans said that they were tired of Washington’s out-of-control regulators.
“President Trump took action right away.
“He issued an executive order in March telling his administration to go back and review some of President Obama’s worst energy regulations.
“One of those was the Clean Power Plan.
“It’s a plan that tried to regulate power plants in a way that wasn’t even allowed under the Clean Air Act.
“President Trump’s executive order was the first step in correcting this bureaucratic overreach.
“Last week’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency was the next step.
“With this move, the agency is saying that Washington will no longer trample on the law.
“It tells the rest of Washington that there are limits.
“So I applaud President Trump and Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the EPA.
“The agency was created because America needed to do a better job of making sure that we had clean air, clean land, and clean water.
“There is a right way to do this job.
“For a long time the agency did its job well.
“We can strike and need to strike the right balance.
“We need to do that again so that we protect our environment, while allowing our economy to grow.
“We can have reasonable regulations that protect Americans, while respecting the law.
“My home state of Wyoming is one of the most pristine places in the world and it is one of the most energy-rich places in the world.
“Wyoming has struck the balance successfully, and so have many other states.
“We’re addressing threats to our environment through the cooperation of states, towns, Indian tribes, and Washington.
“The Environmental Protection Agency did not get the balance right with its Clean Power Plan.
“It overstepped its bounds to fulfill a political agenda.
“In 2008, when Barack Obama was running for president, he said that under his policies, ‘if somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can,’ he went on to say ‘it’s just that it will bankrupt them.’
“Once he got into office, he did everything he could to keep that promise and to bankrupt as many coal companies as possible.
“The Obama administration pushed out unnecessary, unlawful regulations on coal producers, on power plants, and on their customers.
“Look at the difference between these two presidents.
“President Obama promised to bankrupt American energy producers and then he misused his power in order to do it.
“President Trump promised to promote American energy security and economic growth and he’s following the law to do that.
“The law never gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to write its Clean Power Plan.
“The agency went ahead and did it anyway.
“That’s why states sued the federal government to block this destructive bureaucratic overreach.
“States and people knew that the Environmental Protection Agency had written a dangerous regulation that would have shut down American power plants and would raise energy costs for American families.
“Their rule would have thrown thousands of people out of work in Wyoming and in other states.
“It would have led to as much as $33 billion in compliance costs by the year 2030.
“That’s what the agency estimates, $33 billion in compliance costs.
“Last year, the Supreme Court decided that this rule could do so much damage, that the court stopped President Obama in his tracks.
“Last week, the agency recognized that there is a better way.
“It’s going through the process to set aside the old rule and take a fresh look at what it could or should do legally.
“It said that any regulation of these power plants is going to be done the way every new regulation should be done.
“That means listening to the people who have the most at stake, like the states and communities affected by these regulations.
“That’s especially true in places like Wyoming, where there are already partnerships in place.
“Partnerships that can accomplish many of the goals of the new rules.
“It means that Washington should consider the costs as well as the benefits of regulation and it should use reasonable estimates about both the cost and the benefits.
“In 2015, the Supreme Court criticized the Obama administration for another rule that made this same mistake.
“The court said that it’s not ‘rational, never mind appropriate, to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.’
“If Washington is going to write regulations the way they should be done, this means acting rationally, and it means following the law.
“The Clean Air Act didn’t give the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to write its so-called Clean Power Plan.
“That should have stopped the regulators right there and then.
“It should not have been a sign for regulators to interpret the law in brand new ways that Congress never intended.
“That’s what the Obama administration did anyway.
“If Washington does regulations right, that means doing them in a way that provides clarity, not confusion, not more questions.
“It means doing what is best for America, not just what is the preference of the people writing the regulations.
“We are blessed in this country with enormous natural resources.
“Our goal should be to use these resources responsibly, in ways that protect our environment and help to make our economy grow.
“We need a strong economy. That’s what the American people are looking for.
“Over the eight years of the Obama administration, the leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency created broad and legally questionable new regulations.
“They declared war on coal and a war on American energy.
“Under the Trump administration, that war is over and America is back on the right track.”
On October 10, 2017, the EPA published a draft rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan rule.
On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order promoting energy independence and economic growth.
This executive order rescinded a number of the Obama administration’s climate-related initiatives. It also directed the EPA and the Department of the Interior to review and – if appropriate – suspend, revise, or rescind regulations affecting the oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and electric-generation sectors of our economy. Barrasso attended the signing ceremony for the order.