By Melanie Houston, Director, Climate Programs
Last week, Trump’s EPA announced that it will significantly gut the Clean Power Plan (CPP) - an effort to set the first federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s “Affordable Clean Energy” rule is more accurately described as a “Dirty Power Scam,” which puts the interests of big coal over children's health and climate action.
Power plants generate more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that America pumps into the atmosphere each year. Many are old, inefficient coal-burning plants, which emit toxic air pollution that harms the health of Ohioans.
We need the Clean Power Plan to protect children and vulnerable communities in Ohio. Ohio is one of the heaviest carbon pollution emitters in the United States as a result of having numerous coal power plants. And the pollution from these plants is most heavily concentrated in our largest cities. Unfortunately, communities of color and vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution from these power plants, which are concentrated in low-income communities in Ohio.
If the Trump administration is successful in gutting this plan, we stand to lose enormous public health and economic benefits. The Trump Administration’s own analysis found that the Clean Power Plan could prevent as many as 4,500 premature deaths each year by 2030 (more than even Obama’s EPA estimated). And previous estimates found that the plan could provide up to $54 billion in health and climate benefits.
The Clean Power Plan also encouraged investment in cleaner, safer energy sources like wind and solar. Clean energy creates jobs and drives economic growth, and is supported by a majority of Ohioans.
Unfortunately, Trump’s Dirty Power Scam moves us away from the clean energy future that so many of us in Ohio embrace. If we’ve learned anything from extreme Lake Erie toxic algae events over the last decade, the rise in tick-borne illness and record heat this summer, it’s that we need common sense climate action and health protections like the Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan is the result of extensive public engagement and has strong public support in Ohio and across the country. Under the previous administration, EPA experts conducted extensive technical analysis and engaged in unprecedented public outreach to determine the best way to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. In total, the Obama Administration held 11 public listening sessions and received 8 million public comments (over 340,000 from Ohio) in support of the Clean Power Plan before finalizing it. The result of that outreach is the Clean Power Plan.
But instead of listening to American families, Trump and Wheeler are pushing a corporate polluter giveaway that will cost thousands of lives, exacerbate climate change, and threaten our kids’ health.
Besides attempting to trash the Clean Power Plan, the president is pulling the United States out of a Paris climate accord that nearly 200 other nations signed. He also intends to roll back vehicle-efficiency standards aimed at reducing tailpipe emissions, the greatest domestic source of greenhouse gases.
With their new Dirty Power Scam, Donald Trump and Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler are endangering lives and undermining the transition to cleaner, safer energy sources. By proposing to bury the Clean Power Plan, Trump and Wheeler are putting corporate polluters before our health and safety. That is unacceptable. The OEC will continue to advocate on behalf of Ohioans, working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to make sure we all have access to clean air, land and water.