Trump to sign order to scrap Obama's Clean Power Plan: EPA chief

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to employees of the EPA in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. The move comes as the White House seeks safe footing after its stunning legislative loss on health care Friday. The EO comes just days after Trump's administration granted a Presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that was blocked by Obama.

"Our actions starting on Tuesday, shortly after the executive order, will make sure that whatever steps we take in the future will be pro-growth, pro-environment, but within the framework of the Clean Air Act [CAA], and it will be legal", Pruitt said.

"The constant narrative about the "war on coal" and the alleged devastating impact of EPA's regulations on West Virginia´s coal industry will now be exposed for its inherent speciousness", he predicted.

He is not likely, for instance, to be able to bring back the USA coal industry, one of many promises he made around the theme of good-paying jobs.

Coal miners such as Arch Coal (ARCH), BHP Billiton (BHP), Cloud Peak Energy (CLD), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) and Rio Tinto (RIO), together with exchange-traded fund Market Vectors-Coal ETF (KOL), are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of this drive to reverse the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

"This didn't happen as a result of EPA's heavy hand", Pruitt testified during a House subcommittee hearing in May 2016.

However the Trump administration appears to be split over taking this momentous step with Defence Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis among those who accept the established scientific view that climate change is indeed real.

And some experts warn the economic payoff from ditching the clean power plan will be limited.

Before running the EPA, Pruitt was the attorney general of Oklahoma, one of the states suing the agency over the rule which would have affected about 1,000 fossil fuel fired power plants with about 3,100 units nationwide. "And so there's been a stay against this Clean Power Plan".

If there ever was a cost-effective government agency, it's the EPA, which Trump hates.

The "bare minimum" the administration could do to address the Clean Power Plan would be to simply repeal it, without replacing the climate rule with something else.

Leaked details of the executive orders have ignited a firestorm among climate scientists. But it has been on hold since a year ago while a federal court deliberates on appeals made by coal-friendly Republican-led states and more than 100 companies. He cited horizontal drilling for extracting natural gas as an example but did not cite any coal-related technologies. Meanwhile, natural gas production in the United States has surged following advances in hydraulic fracturing.

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