The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is in charge of enforcing federal laws on air and water pollution, has long been disparaged by President Trump. Congress has drafted bills to limit the EPA’s power and abolish it altogether. With the new administration taking over, many are left wondering what will happen to the EPA. Let’s explore some of the possibilities.
Least likely to occur is that the agency will be dismantled entirely. Despite the bill to do just this, introduced by Rep. Matt Goetz of Florida, it’s unlikely Congress would abolish the agency without first repealing some of the major laws associated with the EPA, like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
Another possibility is that Congress will not allow the EPA to address climate change. Under President Obama, the EPA found that greenhouse gases posed a threat to public health and welfare, and thus were able to regulate emissions levels. Currently, 110 Republicans have signed onto a bill (HR 637) that would strip the EPA of authority over greenhouses gases, so this possibility seems more likely than dismantling the EPA completely.
What will most likely occur is that Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee for Administrator of the EPA, will cut down regulations enacted by the Obama administration. Under Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the EPA pushed states to cut down on emissions by 30% (from 2005 levels) by 2030. Pruitt’s fossil-fuel-friendly approach could see adaptations that simply push coal-plant operators to cut down on their heat-rate efficiency–a move that would lead to a smaller 2-4% emissions reduction.
Renewable energy is an important next step for technology. ClearWorld and other industry leaders are working to bring renewable energy and energy efficiency to consumers around the world. The many benefits of this technology will almost certainly be impeded if the EPA cuts back on policy meant to move the renewable industry–and subsequently, global technology–forward.