Scott Pruitt, the current Environmental Protection Agency administrator, has withdrawn Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan (CPP) from federal legislation. The CPP aimed for national reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by establishing state-by-state goals in partnership with the regulations outlined in the Clean Air Act. 25 states have already met or exceeded their respective goal. Additionally, states that were not entirely for the policy are also projected to meet the emissions reduction goal. On the other hand, in 2014, 40% of national carbon emissions were produced from just 12 states alone, including West Virginia and Texas which are coal powerhouses. Though many cities and states insist on shifting their energy economy to renewables, the repeal of the CPP will possibly repress intentional initiatives, preventing emission reductions to fall below the projected 32% decrease. Closures of coal power plants in Colorado have made room for jobs in renewable energy sectors. The governor of Colorado insists that the state’s air is cleaner in addition to saving money. All other states would have responded with the measures that Colorado is currently taking had the CPP been enforced permanently.
Trump states in the “America First Energy Plan” on the White House website: “We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.” The renewable energy sector is meant to be a multifaceted, reestablishment and restructuring of systems that currently degrade our local communities. Renewable industries will collect revenue while aiding communities, whereas shale, oil, and natural gas will bring in revenue while producing contaminants to local waters and soil, hence there will be a need to allocate extra money for potential toxic substance funds. The establishment of more non-renewable energy plants will certainly not “be a big boost to American agriculture” considering particulate matter and ozone smog from the current administration’s proposed coal power plants will pollute soil and water.
Pruitt and the EPA claim that the repeal will save the nation $33 billion along with preserving coal industry jobs. However, the 2016 U.S. Energy and Employment report stated that the solar energy sector employs just over 370,000 people while coal employs 160,000 people. As many cities autonomously begin to shift to renewable industries, coal-plants are closing, and individuals working in or shifting from coal jobs acknowledge the stability of wind and solar companies.
“Facts” favoring the repeal of the CPP coming from U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works do not include citations to legitimize the committee’s self-proclaimed “facts.” The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), an organization composed of scientists, lawyers, and politicians at the forefront of protecting our environment during the current administration’s destructive path, reports facts based off the council’s own analysis of the CPP. For example, the U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works claims on their Clean Power Plan Myths vs Facts sheet that, “…consumers will have spent more than $200 billion by 2030 in order to save $7 per month” while the NRDC’s issue brief on the CPP states that the total benefits will exceed the cost of the CPP by $26 billion to $45 billion. When the dangers of cigarettes surfaced, tobacco companies started losing power; in response, they paid off researchers to skew results saying that their products weren’t harmful. We are seeing that today with the comments and repeal from Senate committees of the Clean Power Plan and other environmental issues. The CPP will not give big pay outs to our administration but it is beneficial physically and economically for all Americans.
Unfortunately, the Department of Energy under Trump’s administration is already moving forward with subsidies for coal power plants. Regardless of legislation, the market for renewable energy is progressive. We have seen the shift occur over many years. Considering the transition and innovation in a number of energy sectors across the nation, subsidizing non-renewable resources is a significant step backwards for the United States. It is worrisome that President Trump and his administration do not recognize the role humans play in altering our natural world at an exponential rate.
Call to Action
- Public comment on the repeal of the Clean Power Plan will be available for 60 days after publication. Methods for commenting can be found at the following link: https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/clean-power-plan-proposed-repeal-how-comment
- Join NRDC in fighting for our planet’s future by sending a message to oppose Trump and Pruitt’s anti-environment agenda:
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- To learn more about current environmental issues and efforts, as well as other means of direct action visit PLAN’s Environmental Justice page.