The Hill Op-Ed: Trump Administration's Clean Power Plan Repeal Proposal Is Illegal

by William Buzbee

October 30, 2017

This op-ed originally ran in The Hill.

The Trump administration's efforts to sidestep finalized regulations through stays or delays have so far met with judicial rejection in three straight decisions.

As these courts have concluded, such a deregulatory strategy violates settled law that administrative agencies are bound by their own finalized regulations until they undo them through a new full rulemaking process.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt last week published a proposal to repeal the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan that similarly is headed for rocky shoals. 

The plan, although stayed pending resolution of legal challenges, is a fully finalized regulation, setting in place a federal-state process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change from existing power plants.

Pruitt's proposed repeal has been criticized for its skewed cost-benefit analysis reversals and climate progress losses. But this repeal proposal suffers from two related illegalities, perhaps springing from Pruitt's political focus on pleasing favored constituencies regardless of what the law actually allows. An eventual legal loss might still be a political win.

Read the full op-ed in The Hill.

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Also from William Buzbee

William W. Buzbee is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

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