If passed, it could decimate the federal government’s climate work, hamper the clean energy transition and shift agencies toward developing the fossil fuel industry rather than regulating it. It is designed to be implemented on the first day of a Republican presidency.
“The 2025 Project is not a white paper. We will not tinker around the edges. We are writing a battle plan and gathering strength,” said Paul Dans, director of the 2025 Project at the Heritage Foundation, which compiled the plan as a roadmap for the first 180 days of the next GOP administration. “Never before has the entire conservative movement come together to systematically prepare to seize power on day one and deconstruct the administrative state.”
The initiative has already drawn attention for its efforts to prepare for a systematic conservative takeover of the federal bureaucracy, contrary to perceptions of chaos that marked much of former President Donald Trump’s tenure. These include plans to assemble a database of 20,000 people who could serve in the next administration — “a right-wing LinkedIn,” as the New York Times described it in April — and proposals to impose a extensive Oval Office control over spending decisions. , public service employees and independent federal agencies.
But its implications for U.S. climate policy — at a time of record-breaking heat waves sweeping the world — have garnered far less attention.
The comprehensive plan covers virtually all federal government operations, not just energy and climate programs.
That’s far more ambitious than the pledges all Republican presidential candidates have made so far to roll back Biden’s climate law. Nor would it simply overrule Biden’s executive climate orders, something a Republican president could easily do right after taking office.
Instead, the ideas presented in the 2025 Project show that conservative organizations want to make a more fundamental shift – moving federal agencies away from public health protections and environmental regulations in order to help the industries they have been tasked with. to oversee, said Andrew Rosenberg, who was a senior National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official during the Clinton administration.
“What this does is it undermines not only society, but also the economic capacity of the country, while doing blatant violence to the environment,” said Rosenberg, who is now a senior fellow at the Carsey School. of Public from the University of New Hampshire. Policy.
The propositions resemble those of a laser in their precision. They also indicate that Republican operatives learned a lesson from the chaotic nature of the early days of the Trump administration, when former Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was removed from overseeing the transition, Neil Chatterjee said, who chaired the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under Trump.
“Even if we lose the election and don’t have the opportunity to govern, I still think that this defined strategy is important because we know what we are and what we can show the American people even if we are no longer in power. power.” said Chatterjeee, who was not involved in the plan. “We can say that’s what we would do, that’s how we would deal with these really complex issues.
A plan to tear down the government is just the start of what Republicans want from their presidential candidate, said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who crafted a sweeping “deal with America” on the path to the GOP takeover of Congress in the 1994 election. Publishing it before the primary race heats up can give people “time to absorb the new idea, think about it, and embrace it.”
“What you’re about to see is a dramatic shift in the solutions landscape away from the left and toward a kind of creative, leading conservatism,” Gingrich (R-Ga.) said.
More than 400 people were involved in crafting the details of Project 2025. Former Trump administration officials played key roles in drafting the chapters on dismantling the EPA and DOE.
The plan to gut the Department of Energy was drafted by Bernard McNamee, a former DOE official whom Trump appointed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. McNamee, who had no regulatory experience, was one of the most named openly political by the FERC in decades. He served as director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that fights climate regulation, and was a senior adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
McNamee outlines key DOE divisions, including the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, and the Office of Lending Programs. He called climate change “progressive politics.”
It also calls for cutting funding to the DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, in part to stop “focusing on grid expansion to benefit renewable resources or support low-carbon generation.” Instead, he calls for boosting grid reliability, which he describes as expanding the use of fossil fuels and slowing or stopping the addition of cleaner energy. Part of his plan includes a massive expansion of natural gas infrastructure.
“Prevent socializing costs for customers who do not benefit from projects or justifying these cost changes by advancing vague ‘societal benefits’ such as climate change,” McNamee wrote in the report.
McNamee did not respond to requests for comment.
Preventing power grid expansion would slow renewable energy projects, threatening U.S. climate goals while slowing the sector’s economic growth, said Mike O’Boyle, senior director of nonpartisan policy firm Energy Innovation and head of its electricity program.
“If we move completely away from the role of the federal government, our economy is going to miss a lot because the rest of the world is changing on the climate, so they are ready to reap the benefits both for their energy consumers but also in terms of manufacturing,” he said.
“A conservative EPA”
Mandy Gunasekara, who served as the EPA’s chief of staff under Trump, wrote a chapter in the plan to steer the agency away from its focus on climate policy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
It outlines the elimination or reduction of agency functions, including the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance, and the Office of Corporate Engagement. public and environmental education. It would also relocate EPA regional offices and “reduce staff by ending new hires in low-value programs.”
The general theme of the overhaul of federal agencies is to shift power from the federal government to the states, with the goal of reducing regulations.
“The challenge in creating a conservative EPA will be to balance justified skepticism about an agency that has long been susceptible to co-optation by the left for political gain and the need to put in place implements the agency’s true function: to protect public health and the environment in cooperation with states,” Gunasekara wrote.
She declined to comment for this story.
But this increase in state power would not apply to California, which has a history of setting more aggressive environmental standards than the federal government under a waiver of the Clean Air Act. The Project 2025 plan would “ensure that other states can adopt California standards only for traditional pollutants/criteria, not for greenhouse gases.”
Another key goal is to restructure how the EPA uses science, especially research that supports regulations by showing the public health risks of industrial pollution. The plan would require scientific studies to be “transparent and reproducible,” which would make it impossible to use key public health studies that rely on private data that cannot be released to the public.
As part of this effort, one idea is to offer incentives to the public “to identify scientific flaws and research misconduct,” which could encourage opponents of regulation to target research.