‘We’re going to clean up this mess’: US EPA faces backlash over Trump-era rule
As President Donald Trump prepares to sign an executive order aimed at rolling back regulations on the Clean Power Plan, a new EPA regulation that requires states to comply with stricter pollution rules, the EPA is facing backlash from Democrats and environmentalists who believe it will undermine the agency’s ability to enforce environmental protections.
In a letter to the Trump administration on Thursday, House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Luján wrote that the proposed rule would have a “massive impact” on the US economy and threaten “to dismantle America’s standing as a leader in clean air and clean water.”
“We are calling on the Trump Administration to immediately rescind the Clean Air Act Clean Power Act and its predecessor the Clean Water Act and to immediately cancel the rule,” the letter reads.
“We call on the Administration to ensure that these Clean Power Plans are not used to further weaken our clean air, clean water, and economic competitiveness.”
The EPA’s proposed rule, however, has faced intense criticism from the American Lung Association (ALA) and other environmental groups, who say it would be an “undemocratic and capricious act” that would result in costly and unnecessary regulations.
The EPA has argued that it will be able to meet its targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by the end of the decade, even as other countries such as China, India, and the European Union continue to ramp up their coal and gas industries.
However, many of the environmental groups are skeptical of that assessment.
“The EPA’s rule will result in an increase in greenhouse gas pollution that will threaten to overwhelm existing efforts to address global warming,” the Environmental Working Group (EWG) wrote in a letter earlier this week.
“Instead of focusing on addressing climate change, we must focus on cleaning up the air, water, land, and sea.”
“The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts are the bedrock of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which sets the rules to prevent the expansion of pollution pollution,” said Matt Lee, the vice president of advocacy for the Sierra Club.
“EPA’s rule, if it is implemented, will not do much to help curb the climate crisis.”
But the agency is also facing resistance from some Republicans.
A senior EPA official said in an interview with Reuters that the agency has met the goals of the EPA’s carbon pollution reduction target, but that the rule will likely have an impact on the air and water quality.
“When you talk about the EPA and the Clean Waters Act, they’re really good partners,” the official said.
“But there are other pieces to the equation.
They’re going in the opposite direction.”
EPA spokesman Tom Miller said in a statement that the new EPA rule is being crafted in an effort to reduce air and ocean pollution and that it “does not require states to build new coal plants.”
“EPA is not going to take the lead on whether or not to expand coal-fired power plants, or if or when to expand the existing ones, and that is why we’re going after this rule to make sure that states can manage their air and groundwater resources as best they can,” Miller said.
However many environmental groups have pointed to the fact that the EPA has yet to issue any final environmental impact statements on the rule, and a recent analysis by the National Resources Defense Council found that the Clean Powers Plan is one of the most burdensome and costly regulations in the history of the agency.
“Despite the fact the Trump EPA is taking a ‘clean coal’ approach to climate change while simultaneously trying to roll back EPA regulations to make the air even more toxic, coal continues to be a key part of the US energy mix, and is responsible for nearly one-third of the carbon pollution in the United States,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Congress and the Administration must act now to prevent this rule from being enacted.”
“It’s a classic example of how Congress and the Trump White House want to roll over the Clean Energy Act to do their dirty work,” Brune added.
The Clean Power plan, also known as the Clean Rule, is the first of its kind and will require states that want to implement the Clean power plan to obtain federal permits.
The plan is a cornerstone of the American climate change agenda and would increase emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
However since the rule was finalized in March, the US has only seen an 11 percent drop in carbon emissions, while other countries are seeing their emissions rise, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
A recent analysis of state-level emissions from all sources found that in the past 12 months, the nation’s electricity generation has declined by nearly 1.3 percent, while CO2 emissions from coal plants have increased by nearly 13 percent.
According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Clean powers plan has created more than 690,000 jobs in the US.
“This rule has the potential to make it more difficult