Statement by the Center for Clean Air Policy on the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that Seeks to Reverse Federal Climate Policy

3.30.17

The President’s Executive Orders initiating a review of the Clean Power Plan and methane regulations on federal lands signal the Administration’s intent to reduce regulations that stand in the way of fossil fuel development. This backsliding may not have the desired effect.

The E.O. on the Clean Power Plan will not change the underlying market forces that are now driving power companies to replace coal with natural gas and ramp up increasingly profitable investments in renewable energy.  The E.O. on domestic oil and gas emissions could delay smart investments meant to enhance resource recovery, thereby reducing production and sales and decreasing taxpayer revenues.

And while this Administration might deny the reality of climate change, no U.S. CEO thinks that the Administration can make the issue go away. U.S. power companies will continue to move to decarbonize their generation fleets in order to address this real business risk. Many international oil and gas companies such as those in the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership and the industry’s own Oil and Gas Climate Initiative similarly recognize the need to lower the carbon impacts of their products consistent with international climate commitments. And these actions can be win-win: measures taken to prevent methane leaks will also enhance product recovery and sales.

The EO on the CPP will not change the power sector’s emissions trajectory over the next decade and the sector’s contribution to meeting the U.S. emissions reduction goal under the Paris Agreement. However, we know that power sector actions alone are insufficient to meet the economy-wide target. In cases where oil and gas firms are not already taking proactive steps to prevent waste and enhance resource recovery, government mandates can ensure that development of America’s natural resources delivers value to U.S. taxpayers.

Before reversing the regulations in question, we urge the Trump Administration to consider how these measures as designed enable companies and states to advance profitable and cost-effective solutions, support sustainable economic development and facilitate continued resource development while securing real progress towards fulfilling our international climate obligations.