The House Freedom Caucus rolled out a list of over 200 rules, regulations and policies that it wants President-elect Donald Trump to repeal in his first 100 days in office, several of which are focused on energy and climate change.
The list, which caucus chairman U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., released Dec. 14, calls for the incoming administration to eliminate 26 regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Energy. Those regulations include efficiency and conservation standards for housing and a range of facilities and appliances such as boilers, clothes washers, freezers, ceiling fans and central air conditioners.
Also on the list for tossing was the DOE's alternative fuel transportation program, which the caucus said had already cost "billions of dollars" over several years. "In fact, Elon Musk, the Tesla guy, has been subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of $4.6 billion," the group said in reference to the program.
Alternative energy mandates for the U.S. Department of Defense similarly were targeted. The DOD has sought to procure more energy from renewable resources, including through the development of new solar facilities, and has a goal of deriving at least 25% of its energy needs from renewable sources by fiscal year 2025. But the Freedom Caucus said that target was too costly and would get in the way of the DOD's broader mission.
"Oil products may be expensive, but they are the least expensive option currently available," the caucus said. "Forcing the military to purchase more expensive alternatives would leave fewer resources for training, modernization, and recapitalization, resulting in a less capable military."
The list included other rules that have been the frequent target of repeal threats from Trump and the GOP. The caucus wants to cancel the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate agreement, which it said will cost American families an average of over $20,000 in lost income each by 2035 with "little, if any, environmental benefit in return." The group also seeks to eliminate the Office of Global Climate Change at the U.S. State Department, as well as the special envoy for climate change, and for the U.S. to cancel all contributions to the United Nations' Green Climate Fund.
The Freedom Caucus recommended that the U.S. EPA rescind its carbon emissions standards for existing power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan, along with greenhouse gas standards for new plants, national ambient air quality standards for ozone, effluent limit guidelines for power plants, and emissions standards for new and modified oil and gas operations.
Additionally, the caucus said the government should rescind guidance requiring all federal agencies to incorporate the costs of global warning in National Environmental Policy Act reviews. The costs are based on the government's social cost of carbon, which determines the economic damage one ton of carbon dioxide will impose over the next 300 years. That value has been a frequent target of Republican ire, and the caucus called the figure "gravely deficient and not appropriate for use in public policy decisions."
The Freedom Caucus further requested that the incoming administration withhold funds from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to design and implement guidance for companies regarding disclosure of climate change-related risks.
Other energy-related policies on the list included the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's Clean Water Rule, the U.S. Department of the Interior's coal leasing programmatic review and a related temporary ban on new leases, and the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's proposed gas transmission pipeline safety standards.
The Freedom Caucus has stood to the right of mainstream Republicans on many issues but could gain influence in 2017 when the GOP will control the White House as well as maintain majorities in both houses of Congress.