CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said the Trump administration’s latest rule on limiting carbon dioxide emissions is a reasonable approach to reducing pollution.
The Environmental Protection Agency last week issued the final version of the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which is designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 35% from 2005 levels.
The rule is less strict than the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan by giving states more control over how to reduce emissions and by how much each state will reduce emissions.
The Clean Power Plan never went into effect; 27 states, including West Virginia, filed a lawsuit that resulted in the Supreme Court issuing a stay.
In October 2017, then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt signed a repeal of the rule.
Capito said the new rule allows flexibility while also giving guidance on how to reduce the country’s environmental impact.
“Our emissions are on a downward slope and have been without a Clean Power Plan, and we’re going to keep moving towards that way regardless of what regulation we have in order because we know it’s better for the environment and the health of people,” she said.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin released a statement after the Trump administration move last week.
“I never supported the CPP because it required coal plants to install emission controls that were not “commercially proven” at the time. It is unreasonable to ask power plants to utilize technologies that do not yet exist, and penalize them if they don’t. For this reason and others, the regulation became a subject of intense litigation causing further uncertainty for our power sector. While we are still reviewing the final rule and its implications, the rule does offer fossil plants greater compliance flexibility, which I support,” Manchin said.
“They don’t take into consideration what poverty does to people,” Capito said of the rule’s opponents. “What a lack of jobs and hopelessness does to certain folks in this country that is the result of these drastic policies that the Obama administration put forward.”
Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry, serves as the current administrator for the EPA; Capito in February voted to confirm him to the position, while Manchin was among the senators in opposition.
Manchin, the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, explained at the time he did not believe Wheeler was willing to protect environmental standards.