Flanked by two dozen coal miners, Vice President Mike Pence, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and joined by various coal state congressmen and industry executives, President Trump visited EPA headquarters yesterday to sign a long-anticipated Executive Order to end the previous administration’s so-called “war on coal.”

Most notably, the Order directs EPA to immediately review and, if appropriate, suspend, revise, or rescind (following notice and comment rulemaking, if necessary) (1) the Clean Power Plan; (2) the New Source Performance Standards for GHG Emissions from New, Reconstructed, or Modified Electric Utilities; (3) the Proposed Clean Power Plan Model Trading Rules; (4) the Legal Memorandum Supporting the Clean Power Plan; and (5) the New Source Performance Standards for Oil & Natural Gas Sector.  Administrator Pruitt then immediately signed Federal Register notices initiating these reviews.

The Order also directs Administrator Pruitt to notify the Attorney General of this review, so that the Department of Justice may take appropriate action in pending litigation regarding the Clean Power Plan and the New Source Performance Standards.  Late yesterday, the Justice Department filed motions with the court in these cases seeking that they be held in abeyance until EPA concluded its reviews, and, if EPA decides to undertake new rulemaking, until those rulemakings were complete.

The Order directed a number of other actions as well.  It rescinds a number of President Obama’s Executive Orders, memoranda and action plans on climate change, including President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan and the 2016 Final Guidance on Consideration of Climate Change in NEPA Reviews.  It directs the Interior Secretary to take all actions necessary to lift the Federal Coal Leasing Moratorium.  Additionally, it disbands the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases and declares the group’s work “no longer representative of government policy,” thus eliminating the high “social cost of carbon” used to justify many recent EPA rules.  Instead, effectively immediately, agencies must use estimates consistent with the 2003 OMB Circular A-4 containing much lower values.  The Order also directs EPA and the Interior Department to reconsider several regulations affecting the oil and gas industry.

Finally, the Order broadly directs agencies to immediately review all of their respective actions that potentially burden development of domestic energy production. If any agency’s actions have the potential to affect energy production, the agency must submit a draft final report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within 120 days of the Order’s issuance and finalize that report 60 days later. This plan must contain “specific recommendations” on how the agency “could alleviate or eliminate aspects of agency actions” negatively affecting domestic energy production.

For more information on the Order or its implications, please contact Peter Glaser, Margaret Campbell, Mack McGuffey, or Rich Pepper.