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Pruitt to sign Clean Power Plan repeal; New York threatens to sue

In a move that prompted a standing ovation at an event in Hazard, Ky., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he will sign a proposed rulemaking to withdraw the Clean Power Plan on Oct. 10.

Pruitt said the signing will occur in Washington, D.C., but the agency did not respond to requests for further details as of publication. Video of Pruitt's remarks, which were made at the offices of a company that sells coal-mining equipment, were posted Oct. 9 on Fox News.

"The past administration was unapologetic. They were using every bit of power, every bit of authority to use the EPA to pick winners and losers in how we generate electricity in this country," Pruitt said.

Pruitt also said his agency has changed the way it communicates with the industries impacted by EPA regulations.

"There are bad actors out there for sure, but it is not an option that we start with that all industry cannot, or does not want to, work with the EPA in achieving good outcomes," he said. "The Clean Power Plan was not about regulating to make things regular. It was really about regulating to pick winners and losers."

A draft version of the proposed rulemaking that surfaced Oct. 6 revealed that the agency now believes it lacked the authority to promulgate the regulation under the Clean Air Act. The EPA does not intend to replace the rule immediately but instead will seek feedback from the public on crafting a replacement at a later date. The draft document also showed that the agency intends to revamp cost-benefit analysis associated with the rule.

Shortly following Pruitt's remarks, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he will sue to stop the EPA's repeal of the carbon rule for existing power plants.

"By seeking to repeal the Clean Power Plan — especially without any credible commitment to replacing it — the Trump Administration's campaign of climate change denial continues, once again putting industry special interests ahead of New Yorkers' and all Americans' safety, health, and the environment," Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman is joined by representatives from a handful of states and local governments that have formed a coalition to oppose the Trump administration's deregulatory efforts.

"The Trump Administration's persistent and indefensible denial of climate change — and their continued assault on actions essential to stemming its increasing devastation — is reprehensible, and I will use every available legal tool to fight their dangerous agenda," Schneiderman added.