The Trump administration has long portrayed the Clean Power Plan, a signature Obama-era initiative to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, as a policy overreach that was bound to cost the economy jobs and constrain economic growth. That’s why, in announcing Monday he would repeal the Clean Power Plan, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said that the reversal was a way of listening to the needs of businesses. Regulations “ought to work with folks all over the country and say, how do we achieve better incomes by working with industry, not against industry,” Pruitt said Monday, in Hazard, Kentucky.
He was partially correct. Some business groups did indeed laud the reversal Tuesday. The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute said that the group had “always believed that there is a better way to approach greenhouse gas regulations than the [Clean Power Plan].” Peabody, the nation’s biggest private-sector coal company, said it supported the repeal, adding that the plan would have raised power costs and damaged reliability.
But the Clean Power Plan, which which would have required states to meet certain individualized targets to limit emissions from existing power plants, was also supported by a wide array of businesses. Many big companies that have publicly pledged to reduce their environmental footprint would have been happy to see a shift toward more renewable energy, and even stood to benefit from it if it brought their energy costs down. The divide highlights something that is becoming increasingly obvious as the Trump administration rolls back various Obama-era policies: The business world isn’t a monolith, and some benefit from regulations that others detest.