The Trump administration continues in its intended path to roll back environmental protections, and especially Barack Obama’s climate change agenda. This is a president who has said repeatedly that man-made climate change is a “hoax,” willfully ignorant of basic science in the grasp of 6th-graders. Trump installed Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, an agency whose work Pruitt had opposed and ridiculed his entire professional life. Pruitt resigned in July, not because everything he did at EPA was wrong (which, of course …), but because his lavish, silly spending, and efforts to use his position to enrich himself finally embarrassed even the president who uses the White House to enrich himself. Pruitt was replaced with Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a coal industry lobbyist who worked against Obama’s environmental regulations. Because of course.
Trump’s latest environmental misadventure is to roll back restrictions for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants set by Obama in 2015. A gift to the coal industry. The new EPA rule would allow states more leeway to write their own regulations for coal-fired power plants or even seek permission to opt out, a sharp contrast with the previous version that sought to shift the electricity industry away from coal use and toward less-polluting sources such as natural gas, wind and solar. Read the regulation here.
Frank Pallone is Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. His response, about an hour ago:
As expected, the Trump Administration has replaced the Clean Power Plan with a Coal Protection Plan that fails to safeguard our families and communities from harmful carbon pollution. Once again, this Administration is choosing polluters’ profits over public health and safety.
The wildfires, droughts, flash floods and more frequent coastal flooding we are experiencing again this year are all consistent with climate change. Yet, the Trump Administration continues to deny the problem, and doubles down on policies that will increase climate-damaging emissions.
This is just another in a long line of Trump Administration subsidies designed to keep old, dirty, inefficient generators operating well past their design life. These fossil fuel plants should have been modernized years ago.
The Trump Dirty Power Scam will not lower electric bills, create jobs, or revive the coal industry, but will instead stifle innovation in clean energy, harm human health, and push the planet toward further dangerous warming. This is a dangerous proposal, and I will do everything I can to fight it.
Photo credit: David Mizoeff/PA