Trump Stops Short Of Killing Climate Rule. Here's His Pitch

"Did you see what I did to that? Boom, gone."

That's what President Trump said about former President Obama's Clean Power Plan last September at a rally in Huntsville, Ala.

Almost a year later, that rule still isn't officially dead — the proposal to repeal it hasn't been finalized. And the administration is expected to roll out its own version today, putting Trump in position to become the first president to enact greenhouse gas limits for power plants after Obama's rule was stalled in court. Trump is likely to tout his approach tonight at a rally in Charleston, W.Va.

So how will a president who has called climate change a hoax brag to his base about likely becoming the first commander in chief to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants?

His likely pitch: It's better than Obama's rule.

There's simply too much nuance for the average voter to swallow, said Frank Maisano, senior principal at Bracewell LLP. Yes, Trump could go down to West Virginia and say what's true of the market — natural gas is cheap and abundant, renewables are becoming more affordable, and coal will still be around a while longer, Maisano said. He added that Trump could also say what the administration believes to be true of policy — the Obama Clean Power Plan was illegal and reached too far into how states manage their electricity system.

Rather, the message should be one of jobs and economics, said Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist and Trump backer. He said it won't matter that some sort of regulation will survive when the political alternative is Democrats being "hell-bent" on regulating and potentially ditching fossil fuels altogether, O'Connell said.

"President Trump should frame this move as an effort to unleash America's energy potential and to create more American jobs," he said in an email. "Strengthening the U.S. economy was Trump's chief campaign promise and on this front he is delivering."

Read more from Zack Colman and Robin Brander at E&E News

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