Ever since November 8, we’ve been expecting Donald Trump to initiate a “repeal and replace” of President Obama’s climate policies, and it all just came to a head. On March 28, in true Orwellian fashion, President Trump went to EPA headquarters to announce an Executive Order designed to dismantle the EPA’s signature climate policy for the nation’s power plants. The action, under the guise of promoting energy independence, specifically orders the EPA to “suspend, or rescind” the Clean Power Plan rule and to replace it with something more favorable to their coal company friends and other energy interests more dependent on carbon-intensive energy generation.
That capped off a busy couple of weeks for the Trump administration in its war against the climate, including a rollback of federal fuel economy standards (announced at Michigan’s Center for Auto Mobility), and a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Never mind that America is already 90% energy independent already. Never mind that many in the power industry are already well on their way to meeting the Clean Power Plan’s 30% carbon reduction requirements. Never mind that coal has been on its way out due to market forces favoring cheap natural gas and even cheaper renewables and energy efficiency practices. And never mind that most of the world now supports aggressive action to address the growing environmental and public health threats of a changing climate. Trump and his fossil-friendly administration are making clear that their intent is to wipe clean any federal action or policy addressing climate change.
This kind of climate denial is not only wrong-headed, but it puts Americans at risk and threatens the health of our families and communities. More than 3,600 deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks could be avoided each year under the Clean Power Plan’s common sense standards, creating thousands of new jobs in clean energy businesses and saving millions for all electricity consumers through greater efficiency measures. If the Trump Administration really cared about coal workers, it’d help them find jobs in emerging economic sectors, not make promises about reviving an industry that is already on its way out.
But just like President Trump’s travel ban and health care reform, we can stop his War on Climate. We will stop it!
The March 28 Executive Order is just the beginning of a long fight. Keep in mind that the Supreme Court has already determined – unanimously – that EPA has an obligation to regulate carbon emissions in order to protect public health. So EPA will have to make its case that the standards should be weakened while still meeting its obligations under the Clean Air Act, and any new proposals will again be subject to public review as well as review by the courts. More than 4 million Americans have already voiced their support of the current standards, and the courts have so far upheld the rule.
Keeping up the public’s opposition to any weakening of the rules is thus critical. Just as many of you did in supporting the Clean Power Plan when the EPA made its proposal, we will need supporters like you to speak out again over the coming months and years as EPA comes up with its “repeal and replace” plans. With your support, we can again defeat any ill-conceived plans that they may try to bring forward.
Published on March 30, 2017