Climate: CEI official urges Trump to retain scaled-back GHG rules discusses the incoming Trump administration’s stance on climate policy with William Yeatman. 

A top official with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the free-market think tank with close ties to the Trump transition team, is cautioning the incoming administration against completely scrapping EPA’s climate rules, including its landmark power plant GHG standards, arguing that some amount of GHG regulation is necessary to preempt state common law claims against emitters based on climate change.

But in a Dec. 30 blog post, CEI’s William Yeatman urges the administration to significantly scale back any climate rules it retains.

“By vacating the field of climate regulation, the EPA would make it much likelier for a state court to uphold a claim against a stationary source of greenhouse gases. This would be a disaster,” Yeatman writes. He says if such a lawsuit were successful, “it would open up virtually the whole of the U.S. economy to climate litigation for damages or injunctive relief, in potentially a number of states.”

Other observers have warned against common law and climate accountability lawsuits. For example, Roger Martella, a former Bush-era EPA general counsel, earlier this year outlined a “new era” of climate litigation that will focus on industry accountability, “not just limiting greenhouse gases but who should be accountable for the impacts of climate change.”

However, Yeatman is the first close to the Trump transition team to warn of these kinds of lawsuits — putting him at odds with some Trump advisers and other supporters who have urged the president-elect to take a hard-line stance against climate regulation.

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