President Donald Trump has issued a new executive order that could literally kill the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and roll back onerous climate change regulations. It directs federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new one that gets passed. It also sets a regulatory budget for next year to zero dollars. Trump said this new order would be the “largest ever cut by far in terms in regulation.” Trump has given agencies the authority to decide what rules they want to roll back before the White House reviews them. There calling it the "one in, two out" rule.

The latest order would ostensibly cut many of the onerous regulations laid down by former EPA chief Gina McCarthy. Many were rolled out just weeks before Inauguration Day while others have been percolating through the legal system as individual states and industry sue the federal government for overreach. Trump said clean air and water were his first priority, but the environmental rule-making has gotten out of control.

Regulatory overreach

One such rule is the Clean Power Plan (CPP), an expansive interpretation of the Clean Air Act that gives the EPA unprecedented powers to regulate the trace gas carbon dioxide (CO2).

The problem arises because the indicators the EPA uses show the air is actually very clean. With no evidence to support its decision, the EPA added CO2 to its list of harmful air pollutants to regulate coal-fired power plants and other industries like fracking and drilling.

Trump campaigned that if he were elected, he would use an all-of-the-above energy approach.

Shortly after the inauguration, the Trump administration was handed the reins of after it was backed up and wiped clean by the National Archives. It has since been updated to reflect his campaign promises. Under the heading America First Energy Plan, Trump plans to remove restrictions placed on U.S. energy production put in place by Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

Pruitt vs. EPA

First on the chopping block will likely be the CPP, a rule put in place to allegedly lower CO2 emissions and avert global warming. In reality it has shuttered coal-fired power plants without averting any discernible warming. Right now the CPP is currently on hold by the Supreme Court pending the outcome of lawsuits filed by 28 states and industry.

Trump’s EPA nominee Scott Pruitt can direct the Justice Department to not defend the rule, or simply drop it completely based on the new "one in, two out" order. If two rules need to be eliminated for every new one, the CPP would likely violate that law.

But with Chuck Schumer obstructing the confirmation of Trump’s incoming cabinet it may be months before Pruitt gets nominated.

Despite a standing regulatory freeze for all agencies, the new order establishes a process for when agencies resume issuing rules. Trump has tasked Mick Mulvaney to lead the Office of Management and Budget to oversee its implementation. Easing the regulatory burden was a pledge Trump made throughout his campaign that is coming to fruition. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that not since 1981 has an order of this magnitude been issued that will benefit so many job creators across the country.