The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that President Donald Trump's administration will move to repeal his predecessor Barack Obama's plan to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking in Kentucky at a political event attended by coal miners, EPA chief Scott Pruitt said he would Tuesday "be signing a proposed rule to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration."
Pruitt said the rule, enacted in 2015, "was about picking winners and losers."
"The past administration was using every bit of power and authority to use the EPA to pick winners and losers and how we generate electricity in this country. That's wrong."
President Donald Trump, who made repealing regulations a centerpiece of his campaign, issued an executive order in March to block the Clean Power Plan.
That order called on the EPA to review the Clean Power Plan to determine whether it overstepped the authority of government when it called for stricter emissions limits.
The latest EPA plans, contained in a 43-page document called "Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources," say the agency will appeal for public input on how to cut emissions from power plants.
The EPA has not, as was widely expected, issued a revised, weaker version of the Clean Power Plan.
Under Obama, the Clean Power Plan sought to reduce carbon emissions in the United States from power plants for the first time.
The plan is designed to reduce US national electricity sector emissions by an estimated 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Prior to the finalization of the rules in August 2015, power plants -- which account for nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions -- "were allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere," said the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"No rules were in effect that limited their emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global warming."
The standards were developed under an act of Congress, called the Clean Air Act.
However, the Clean Power Plan has essentially been on hold since February 2016, when the US Supreme Court halted its implementation until courts could decide whether it was legally valid.