Decision announced by EPA chief Scott Pruitt instantly criticized by environmental groups
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it would repeal the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 regulation aimed at reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by power plants.
When it was implemented two years ago, the policy had been a key component of former President Barack Obama’s campaign against climate change. The plan pushed all power plants in the U.S. to cut carbon emissions by roughly 30 percent of 2005 levels.
Many critics pointed to the Clean Power Plan as an example of government overreach and the administration of President Donald Trump has said repeatedly that it was looking at undoing his predecessor’s policy.
Trump’s EPA head, Scott Pruitt, announced the White House’s official decision to cancel the Clean Power Plan in Hazard, Kentucky, an area known for its coal mining.
“The war on coal is over,” Pruitt said. “Tomorrow in Washington, DC, I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan.”
Criticism immediately followed Pruitt’s announcement, with many environmental groups saying that research conducted by Obama’s EPA found that the Clean Power Plan would prevent 90,000 childhood asthma attacks and 3,600 premature deaths annually by 2030.
“With this news, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt will go down in infamy for launching one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health, our climate, and the safety of every community in the United States,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement.
“The damage caused by Trump’s willful ignorance will now have myriads of human faces, because he’s proposing to throw out a plan that would prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks every year.”
Trump’s decision on the Clean Power Plan will likely be challenged in court. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman vowed Monday that a coalition of states would soon file a lawsuit over the plan’s repeal.
“Fuel-burning power plants are one of our nation’s largest sources of climate change pollution, and common-sense science — and the law — dictate that the EPA take action to cut these emissions,” Schneiderman said in an announcement.
“The Trump administration’s persistent and indefensible denial of climate change — and their continued assault on actions essential to stemming its increasing devastation — is reprehensible, and I will use every available legal tool to fight their dangerous agenda.”