Unhealthy air days are on the rise this summer, and Trump’s newly unveiled Dirty Power Plan would make the problem even worse.
Last week, the Trump Administration announced it had finalized its replacement for the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which a federal court put on hold in 2016. Misleadingly labeled their “Affordable Clean Power Plan,” the Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new rule would both increase consumer costs and significantly boost deadly air pollution. The rule effectively promotes a return to coal-burning power plants.
News accounts bluntly labeled the new rule “a sweeping about-face” designed to ease restrictions on coal-fired power plants, prop up the sagging coal industry, and retreat from efforts to fight climate change. Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler specifically said that he expected more coal plants to open as a result. The State of New York immediately announced it would challenge the new rule in court.
Trump’s rule eliminates goals for state-by-state reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and does not press states to switch from coal to cleaner sources. Despite this, Wheeler falsely claimed in a statement that the rule would mean “cleaner and more affordable energy for the American public.” In fact, voluntary changes already announced by the power industry in many states will cut emissions more than the Trump rule requires, simply because coal is no longer cost-competitive as a fuel source, compared to alternatives.
“Data from Trump’s own EPA [released last week] clearly shows there were 15 percent more unhealthy air days in the U.S. in the last two years than the previous four. The last thing we need is this Dirty Power Scam to put more carbon pollution in our increasingly unhealthy air. Andrew Wheeler and the Trump EPA’s move today will put thousands of lives at risk, intensify the climate crisis and threaten our transition to a clean, safe energy future for the sole benefit of corporate polluters,” said national League of Conservation Voters (LCV) president Gene Karpinski.
NCLCV released a blunt statement on the plan: “Trump’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan would breathe new life into toxic coal plants. Isn’t it time we invest in Clean Energy for All and stop piling money into dirty fossil fuels?” Tip: The answer to that question is “yes.”
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