Trump's EPA is making a reckless and damaging decision. Here's what you need to know.

Martha Roberts

Editor’s note: This post was updated on October 10, 2017.

The decision by the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the Clean Power Plan – our only nationwide limits on carbon pollution from power plants – is Scott Pruitt’s latest reprehensible effort to tear down America’s public health and environmental safeguards.

The proposed rule Pruitt signed today, if implemented, would put an end to a flexible and cost-effective Obama-era program to reduce unchecked carbon pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants – measures that would prevent thousands of deaths and many more childhood asthma attacks while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are five reasons Pruitt’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan is so harmful, and why you need to make your voice heard now.

1. Uses faulty science to downplay public health risks

In a vivid example of how little the EPA administrator prioritizes public health, his proposal uses discredited methods to shortchange the tremendous health benefits of the Clean Power Plan. The EPA has estimated it would prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 childhood asthma attacks annually once it is fully implemented.

It even undercuts the harm we face from carbon pollution by using methods that are at odds with experts at the National Academy of Sciences.

Pruitt is cooking the books at the cost of our health.

2. Ignores the fact that climate change is upon us

Over the past few weeks, hurricanes exacerbated by climate change have left millions reeling, with lives lost and communities profoundly disrupted for years to come.

Yet, Pruitt’s proposal “continues to consider” whether to protect Americans from carbon pollution from existing power plants, while making no commitment to do so. Failing to act on climate change would ignore settled law that the EPA must issue safeguards against climate pollution under the Clean Air Act as the Supreme Court has already concluded three times.

3. Uses accounting gimmicks to inflate costs

A growing body of evidence shows that achieving the Clean Power Plan’s goals will be even cheaper than the EPA had initially estimated. But Pruitt employs accounting tricks to claim that costs would somehow be higher than originally anticipated.

Our view is that, if anything, the Clean Power Plan’s targets should be stronger.

Pruitt ignores the fact that power market trends today are moving toward cleaner power sources, creating jobs and shared economic prosperity across the country – a trend the Clean Power Plan would bolster. 

4. Benefits Pruitt’s political supporters

Scott Pruitt built his political career by suing relentlessly to block EPA safeguards, including the Clean Power Plan.

His campaigns and political organizations received extensive contributions from Clean Power Plan opponents, including $25,000 from coal company Murray Energy just one month before the Clean Power Plan oral argument before a federal appeals court in June 2016.

Those industry opponents now stand to benefit from Pruitt’s proposal – at the expense of the health and safety of American families.

5. Ignores broad support for Clean Power Plan

When President Trump issued an executive order in March that threatened to roll back the Clean Power Plan, Americans across the country responded with an outpouring of support.

Faith organizations, health associations and at least 75 mayors, state governors and attorneys general who represent nearly half the United States population spoke up for the plan [PDF]. So did some power companies and leading brands such as Apple, General Electric and Walmart.

A similarly broad and diverse coalition defended the Clean Power Plan in court – including 18 states and 60 municipalities. It also included power companies that own and operate nearly 10 percent of the nation’s generating capacity, consumer and ratepayer advocates and many others.

Pruitt is ignoring this groundswell of support for pollution limits – just like he’s overlooking the fact that nearly 70 percent of Americans support strict limits on carbon pollution from power plants. That’s a majority of Americans in every congressional district in the country.

With the EPA administrator’s latest move, we all need to speak up.  


Should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Arthur Strauss, MD
October 9, 2017 at 9:27 pm

It is sickening and terrifying to witness the deliberate and consciously purposeful destruction of our country and our government at the hands of a demented and self worshiping moron (Tillerson is correct!) and his band of hit men.

What frightens me the most is that so many otherwise intelligent and loyal to America people have fallen for his (and their) stream of lies. How can any rational, thinking person think anything he is doing is good for the country, the people, the government and the environment?

Martha Deming
October 10, 2017 at 6:34 pm

My dad was a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska. I am sick and so very sad about this recent EPA reversal. What can we do to fight this action. It is another indication of the "big money" talks actions by this administration.

Margaret Murray
October 11, 2017 at 10:42 am

What the administration is afraid of is change. The old guard is afraid of losing wealth, influence and control. Which is part of being in power. What they don't understand is that they have been doing the two-step for so long they have forgotten how to jitterbug. To be innovative, and change with the times. To change directions and open up factories that make solar panels, and switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Slowly but surely, fossil fuels will be for the rich only, and the very rich at that. Which is a very small group that will be able to afford such luxuries. The rest of the world will move on to renewable energy and leave oil behind.

Like [we moved from] steam engines and gas-powered engines to high-bred cars. Or [from] ice boxes that were replaced by electric refrigerators. The human race will get tired of fighting corporate wars over land and oil. And they too, will fly away like the dough-dough birds. It may take another 70 years but the writing is already on the wall. They can see it, and that's why they are so desperate to create havoc. All we can do is minimize their; "If I can't have it...Then no one can!" attitude. And destroying the planet.

There is an old saying that goes, "Pride comes before the fall." In this case, their pride will destroy the planet first, before admitting that they were wrong! Or change with the times. Perhaps, just perhaps, like gold, mining for oil will become so expensive that they will quit doing it, on land and sea. But anyway you look at it, buckle up boys and girl's -- it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Laurie Jimenez
October 11, 2017 at 5:46 pm

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