Environmental groups are outraged over the Trump administration wanting to overturn an Obama-era plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.
Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt announced Monday he will scrap the Clean Power Plan, declaring "the war on coal is over."
Climate change skeptic
Pruitt made his announcement at a coal miners' supply store in Kentucky — a southern state whose coal industry has suffered from big job loses, in part because of a declining demand for coal and restrictions on coal burning plants.
Pruitt, like President Donald Trump, is a climate change skeptic. He sued the EPA numerous times when he was Oklahoma attorney general.
He believes the Obama White House overstepped its authority by setting carbon dioxide emission standards that Pruitt says are hard for coal and other industries to meet.
No federal agency, Pruitt said, "should ever use its authority to declare war on any sector of our economy."
Environmental groups furious.
"With this news, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt will go down in infamy for launching one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health," Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said.
"The damage caused by Trump’s willful ignorance will now have myriads of human faces, because he’s proposing to throw out a plan that would prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks every year."
The Obama Clean Power Plan has yet to take effect. The Supreme Court put it on hold last year until it can rule on whether the plan is legal.
Meanwhile, Pruitt’s decision to throw it out will certainly face a number of legal challenges from environmental groups and state attorneys general.