In announcing the repeal, Pruitt made numerous same arguments that he had made for years to Congress and in lawsuits: that the Obama administration exceeded its legal authority in an effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
"Here's the president's message: The war on coal is over", Pruitt told a gathering in the Kentucky coal-country town of Hazard.
"90 some nearly 100 coal plants that has already been imploded by Obama's rules", said Clark Pergrem, Manager/Operator of NFC Mining and Onyx Coal Sales.
Pruitt mocked Obama's effort to stem global warming as a "so-called" plan. Pruitt, however, can probably expect a new wave of litigation from the other side of the debate, as environmentalist groups and allied Democrats are sure to challenge the rollback. It was put on hold by the Supreme Court in 2016 to allow litigation against it to proceed.
Trump has voiced doubts about the science of climate change and has blamed Obama's efforts to reduce carbon emissions for hurting the coal mining and oil drilling industries. That compares to the 32% drop in emissions by 2030 under Obama's Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan, created by executive order in 2015, is the key component of the U.S.'s Paris Agreement pledge to combat climate change.
The initial controversy focused on Pruitt's flights to his home state of Oklahoma - where, rumor has it, the former state attorney general is eyeing a possible gubernatorial campaign - between March and May. A plant-specific approach "would be grossly insufficient to address the public health and environmental impacts from Carbon dioxide emissions", Obama's EPA said.
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. It also aims to transition from coal-based energy to wind, solar and natural gas power.
In the absence of stricter federal regulations curbing greenhouse gas emissions, many states have issued their own mandates promoting energy conservation.
"Under the interpretation proposed in this notice, the CPP (Clean Power Plan) exceeds the EPA's statutory authority and would be repealed", wrote a copy of the the leaked proposal obtained by the U.S. media.