In this essay, Professor Pierce explains why both the hand wringing by environmental advocates and the cheers of coal miners elicited by the Executive Order in which President Trump ordered EPA to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) were based on poorly supported beliefs about the effects of the CPP. The substitution of natural gas, wind and solar power for coal as a generating fuel that the CPP was intended to produce began long before EPA issued the CPP and will continue long after the CPP is repealed. That substitution was driven largely by changes in the relative prices of coal and natural gas which, in turn, were created by fracking shale formations. The only government action that could possibly reopen coal mines would be adoption of the national ban on fracking urged by Senator Sanders.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-30; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-30
Pierce, Richard J., The Regulatory Budget Debate (2017). GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-30; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-30. Available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2952418