CLF Challenges Trump Administration’s Appalling Clean Power Plan Replacement

The so-called Affordable Clean Energy Rule will cost New Englanders millions in damage to our health and our climate

Trump's Clean Power Plan Replacement would worsen climate and air pollution

Trump's Clean Power Plan replacement will worsen both climate and air pollution. Photo: Lance Erickson via Shutterstock

In a move that will harm Americans’ health, economy, and climate, the Trump administration rolled out its proposed replacement to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in June. The landmark Clean Power Plan was set to cut emissions from dirty coal plants—slashing pollution and combatting the looming climate crisis.

In its place, the Trump administration proposed the deceptively named Affordable Clean Energy Rule. This new rule will do just the opposite of what its name suggests, increasing both air and climate-damaging pollution. Analysis shows that it will lead to thousands of premature deaths every year.

CLF is fighting back against this shameless gift to the dying fossil fuel industry. Alongside the Clean Air Task Force and other environmental groups, we are going to court to stand against the Trump administration’s new edict.

Despite the Trump administration’s flailing, the era of fossil fuels is over. It’s time to finally kick dirty coal, oil, and gas to the curb and instead invest in clean energy sources. New England has long been a leader in the fight against climate change. But we can’t go it alone. So long as the Trump administration prioritizes fossil fuel profits over the health of our families, CLF will defend our region.

The Clean Power Plan Protects the Health of our Communities

The Clean Power Plan, issued under President Obama in 2015, aimed to slash dangerous emissions from the power sector by setting strict limits on pollution from coal plants. These limits also are meant to encourage states to invest in local, clean energy as older, dirtier power plants shut down. Ultimately, the Clean Power Plan would have lowered climate-damaging emissions in the U.S. and reduced air pollution in areas that still rely on dirty coal.

Here in New England, where the majority of our coal plants have already shut down, we are already complying with the limits set out in the Clean Power Plan. But closing dirty fossil fuel plants elsewhere in the nation still benefits our region, as air pollution from the Midwest impacts the air quality in New England. We already have some of the highest asthma rates in the country. Transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic will help us breathe easier, too.

By curtailing pollution across the board, the Clean Power Plan also would have helped us avoid the worst impacts of climate change – including severe weather like extreme heat waves and flooding, rising ocean temperatures that threaten the fishing industry, and devastating wildfires that destroy lives and livelihoods.

Trump’s Energy Rule Will Cause Thousands of Premature Deaths

The Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule walks back the Clean Power Plan and then some. Instead of limiting pollution, it suggests efficiency measures for power plants and then lets states decide whether or not to adopt them—hardly the robust response we need to avert climate catastrophe.

What’s more, analysis of the new plan shows that, compared with the Clean Power Plan, it will increase climate-damaging emissions and the dangerous pollution that causes childhood asthma. It will cause thousands of deaths each year that the Obama-era plan would have prevented. It could even drive up climate pollution more than having no plan in place at all.

It’s also a wasted opportunity. Instead of boosting our domestic clean energy economy, the administration is propping up the dying dirty fuel industry. Even more outrageously, it is turning its back on families and communities nationwide, opting instead to line the pockets of fossil fuel executives at the expense of our health, our climate, and our children’s future.

That’s not a trade we’re willing to accept.

Our Nation Can’t Afford the Affordable Clean Energy Rule

With the Northeast already facing extreme climate change impacts, we can’t afford to make things worse. Fortunately, New England has long been at the forefront of cutting carbon emissions. Nine Northeast states launched the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2008, and Massachusetts passed one of the first Global Warming Solutions Acts in the country that same year. More recently, Connecticut and Maine have signed their own landmark climate bills into law.

CLF is pushing similar bills in every New England state and working regionwide to curb emissions and power our economy through clean energy. And we’re committed to stopping the Trump administration from undoing all of our hard work.

That’s why CLF and our allies are standing against the Trump administration and its dangerous energy rule. Only by curbing climate pollution can we avoid a climate catastrophe, and only by demanding better of our federal government can we ensure we succeed.

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Before you go... CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.