Environmental activists protest outside of the Harvard Club where EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was scheduled to speak, June 20, 2017 in New York City.
A coalition of US
states and environmental groups have pledged to fight the Trump administration’s move to terminate the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which limited carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Monday that he would sign a new rule on Tuesday overriding the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
“The war on coal is over,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared in the coal mining state of Kentucky. He said no federal agency “should ever use its authority” to “declare war on any sector of our economy.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was among those who said they will sue the administration’s move to kill the plan.
“The Trump Administration’s persistent and indefensible denial of climate change — and their continued assault on actions essential to stemming its increasing devastation — is reprehensible, and I will use every available legal tool to fight their dangerous agenda,” Schneiderman said.
Environmental groups and public health advocates were also quick to slam Pruitt’s decision as “deadly,” and vowed to fight back by all means.
“Trump is not just ignoring the deadly cost of pollution, he’s ignoring the clean energy deployment that is rapidly creating jobs across the country,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club.
The Natural Resources Defense Council also tweeted that “If the Clean Power Plan is repealed, we’ll take the EPA to court.”
The Trump administration is choosing to roll back the Clean Power Plan at a time when major hurricanes have made the “climate crisis so painfully clear,” said Ken Berlin, the president and CEO of the Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
“The Trump administration’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan is reckless and shortsighted,” Berlin added. “Even as devastating hurricanes have made the reality of the climate crisis so painfully clear, this administration continues to prioritize the interests of the fossil fuel industry over the American people’s right to clean air and a safe climate.”
The group 350.org, a leading anti-fossil fuel group went further and announced they would take the fight over the Clean Power Plan to the streets.
“Slashing climate policy is par for the course in the Trump administration, but we won’t let it go unchallenged,” said May Boeve, the executive director of the group. “This decision will be fought in the courts and in the streets.”
The Medical Society
Consortium on Climate and Health, a group representing 400,000 medical professionals said, “A decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan is a choice that puts American lives at greater risk from unhealthy air and the health harms from climate change.”
Another scientific group, the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) added that the move will further isolate the US at a time when countries like China are moving away from reliance on oil and gas.
“Instead of addressing one of the most significant problems facing mankind, the administration thumbed its nose at science, and now at the law,” said Ken Kimmel, president of the USC. “Rather than positioning America in the global clean energy marketplace, the administration will stand on the sidelines.”
Closely aligned with the oil and gas industry in his home state of Oklahoma, a bastion for polluting oil companies, Pruitt rejects the consensus of scientists that man-made emissions from burning fossil fuels are the primary driver of global climate change.
Trump, who appointed Pruitt and shares his skepticism of established climate science, promised to kill the Clean Power Plan during his 2016 campaign as part of his broader pledge to revive the nation’s struggling coal mines.
Obama’s plan was designed to cut US carbon dioxide emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The rule dictated specific emission targets for states based on power-plant emissions and gave officials broad latitude to decide how to achieve reductions.