President Trump and four executives of his administration held a press conference this afternoon in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Map Room. Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy), Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator), and Vice President Michael Pence provided opening remarks, flanked by coal mining representatives. Secretary Perry started by noting it was an “important day” with an “important opportunity” to execute on government reforms. Secretary Zinke asserted that America “can’t run on pixie dust and hope” and that the country needs “decisive action.” Administrator Pruitt noted the significance of holding today’s press conference in EPA’s Map Room, claiming that today’s executive order would provide a map for America’s energy future. Vice President Pence decisively said the “war on coal is over.”
President Trump then spoke, stating that America loves its coal miners and that “we’re with you 100%.” In no uncertain terms, President Trump stated “We will put our miners back to work.” Consistent with his America First Energy Plan, President Trump outlined the contents of his executive order as including the following: a re-evaluation of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, lifting a moratorium on federal coal leases, reducing the role of climate change in federal regulation (e.g., methane regulations and use of the federal social cost of carbon values), and returning power of energy regulation to the states. President Trump signed the executive order at approximately 2:28 p.m. EDT.
It remains to be seen what will have a greater impact on America’s energy future – market forces or today’s executive order. Furthermore, many states have pro-clean energy laws and regulations. It is therefore unclear whether yielding power to the states will help achieve the intent of today’s executive order. More coverage to follow when the executive order is posted. Stay tuned.