Proposed Clean Power Plan Replacement Is “Appalling Abandonment” of EPA Responsibility

EDF Submits Comments Calling on EPA to Drop “Arbitrary and Unlawful” Proposal

November 1, 2018
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

(Washington, D.C. – November 1, 2018) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is formally calling on the Trump administration’s EPA to abandon its attempt to replace the Clean Power Plan with a weak substitute that will not protect Americans from dangerous air pollution and climate change.

In August, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler unveiled a proposal to eviscerate the Clean Power Plan and instead adopt a rule with no substantial limits on health-harming pollution from coal power plants. EPA’s public comment period on the proposal ended last night. EDF submitted comments with extensive detail on the ways the proposal is “unlawful and arbitrary” and dangerous for the American people:

“The Proposed Rule represents an appalling abandonment of EPA’s legal and moral responsibility to protect Americans from the climate and health impacts of power plant pollution,” EDF says in its submitted comments. “The Proposed Rule would take this country in precisely the wrong direction – exposing communities to more harmful carbon pollution and leading to more death and disease from soot and smog. This deeply harmful proposal violates the Clean Air Act and rests on a fatally deficient legal and technical record.” (EDF comments, pages ii and iii)

The Clean Power Plan establishes America’s only nationwide limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants. The common-sense plan would reduce climate pollution to 36 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration. That would fulfill an important part of EPA’s legal obligation, repeatedly upheld in court, to protect Americans from the dangers of climate pollution. It would also reduce deadly soot and smog.

By contrast, Wheeler’s proposal contains no quantitative limits or compliance deadlines at all. It requires only that states consider whether power plants should adopt a narrow and ineffective set of operational efficiency tweaks. The proposal also cynically attempts to use a do-nothing carbon dioxide rule as an excuse for an unlawful rollback of longstanding protections against emissions of a variety of other harmful pollutants.

By EPA’s own estimates, Wheeler’s replacement rule could result in as many as 1,630 extra American deaths per year by 2030.

Wheeler’s proposal comes despite overwhelming scientific evidence – summarized in a recent report of the leading body of climate scientists – that deep emission reductions must take place immediately to reduce catastrophic hazards to human health and welfare.

In addition to filing its own comments, EDF also joined a large number of other environmental and conservation organizations to submit comments opposing the dangerous replacement plan:

Many others – including a bipartisan group of environmental officials from 14 states and a coalition of Attorneys General representing 26 states, counties and cities – also filed comments opposing Wheeler’s proposal.

You can read more about the Clean Power Plan on EDF’s website.

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