By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc <AAPL.O> said on Friday it opposes any repeal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the Clean Power Plan, which is a priority of the agency's Administrator Scott Pruitt and would reverse an Obama-era program to curb greenhouse gases.
Repealing the plan would jeopardize the country's position in the race for investments in clean energy, particularly its competition with China, Apple said. It was the first public comment by a company on the proposed repeal of the plan, which has never been implemented because of legal challenges.
"Repealing the Clean Power Plan will subject consumers like Apple and our large manufacturing partners to increased investment uncertainty," the California-based company said in a filing to the agency.
Apple, which says it runs its U.S. operations fully on renewable energy such as wind and solar power, added that repeal of the plan would also threaten development and investments that have already been made in renewable power.
Lisa Jackson, who was the EPA's chief from 2009 to 2013 under former President Barack Obama, runs Apple's program to address climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The opposition from one of America's biggest and best known companies to Pruitt's planned repeal comes as the EPA head is battling allegations about his ethics, including that he leased a room in a Washington townhouse co-owned by the wife of energy industry lobbyist.
Pruitt proposed last October to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a set of standards for U.S. states intended to cut pollution from power plants, the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. In December, the EPA launched a comment period for a possible replacement of the plan.
Under Pruitt, the EPA has said the Clean Power Plan was illegal and exceeded the agency's statutory authority. The plan never went into effect after it was suspended by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The EPA has not indicated whether or when it would propose a new rule to regulate the emissions.
The proposed repeal is part of Trump's broader effort to support the coal, oil and natural gas industries and to boost exports of the resources to cut trade deficits.
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a response to Apple's filing that the agency appreciates all public feedback and will be considering the comments as part of the rulemaking process.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Frances Kerry)