“I can predict with certainty that if those cuts prevail — and I’m not predicting they will — millions of people around the country will be exposed to unhealthful air,” says Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. “It could literally be the difference between protecting public health and premature death.”
Coal usage in the United States has been falling steadily, if not dramatically, for several years. Now, as rumors grow that the Clean Power Plan is likely on the chopping block in our nation’s capital, NRDC’s latest report shows just how big of a folly it would be to abandon policies that promote clean energy – not only for the environment, but also for our economy and the very jobs President Donald Trump claims to want to bring back.
“The shift away from coal, and the ongoing retirement of aging coal plants, presents our country with an historic opportunity,” Starla Yeh, a senior policy analyst in NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program, said in a press release. “The U.S. is perfectly positioned to lead a global transition to clean energy, modernize its electricity grid, enlist tens of thousands of Americans in new efficiency and clean energy jobs—and help protect the planet from climate devastation.”
President Trump is expected to issue an executive order to dismantle an Obama administration Clean Power Plan. But experts say that alone won’t dictate what states and businesses do.
MARCH 10, 2017 WASHINGTON—Given the policy priorities of the Trump administration, the conditions may not look ripe for America to make big progress on moving toward a low-carbon economy. But some energy experts offer a counter narrative, noting that states and large US companies are planning long-term moves toward clean energy that are likely to continue, even if new federal policies put up some obstacles.
Energy experts from the Obama and Clinton administrations, speaking at a Washington event Thursday, said many local governments and businesses see climate change as an economic risk that warrants action in response.
One action that’s already in motion is deploying clean energy.
“There’s going to continue to be momentum to make these investments in the business community, particularly multinational companies that need to move ahead on clean energy across the supply chains,” said Karl Hausker, who served in the Clinton administration’s Environmental Protection Agency. “There’s momentum in the electric utility industry – they need to plan long term. They can’t just plan [based on] four years of this administration.”
In what should come as no surprise, the Donald Trump administration is close to eliminating the Clean Power Plan, which launched two years ago.
As E&E News and other environmental news sites reported, Trump is expected to sign an executive order next week that would direct the Department of Justice to cease its legal defense of the plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Shortly after former President Barack Obama inked the plan, 26 state attorneys general filed suits in opposition. The Justice Department was tasked with defending the plan in court. Stalling the litigation would essentially “freeze” the case, E&E reported.
Most legal experts agree that the result would bar appellate judges from issuing a decision on the plan, which was expected this spring. But if other states or NGOs keep defending the rule, the Trump White House would need to take further action in order to scuttle the plan, posits E&E reporter Evan Lehmann.