Health advocates and clean-air groups are speaking out against the decision by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to begin the process of rescinding the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s commitment under the Paris Accords on Climate Change.
Pruitt, who sued the EPA 14 times as Oklahoma’s attorney general, published his repeal rule today in the Federal Register. Gary Beverly, a member of the Yavapai Climate Change Coalition in Prescott, said the decision will fuel climate change and lead to more air pollution, higher temperatures and more destructive forest fires.
“One end result could be that we could lose our Ponderosa pine forest and that they get converted to a chaparral,” Beverly said. “So, climate change has the potential of causing substantial change in the environment in Arizona.”
The Clean Power Plan would have prevented 90,000 asthma attacks, 300,000 missed work and school days and 3,600 premature deaths annually in the United States by 2030. The agency now is taking public comment about its intent to rescind the plan.
President Trump has said controls on coal-fired power plants, such as the Navajo Generating Station in Page, are a threat to jobs. The Supreme Court put the Clean Power Plan on hold in 2016 after multiple states sued to stop it, claiming the Obama EPA had exceeded its authority. However, the high court also has ruled three times that the EPA must limit carbon pollution and fight climate change.
Dr. Elena Rios, president and chief executive of the National Hispanic Medical Association, said the first-ever pollution controls on coal-fired power plants would have prevented a lot of suffering.
“Many, many medications, hospital visits, emergency-room visits would be tremendously, drastically cut if the carbon plants had better regulations,” she said.
The Obama EPA had projected that the Clean Power Plan would have prevented 90,000 asthma attacks, 300,000 missed work and school days and 3,600 premature deaths annually in the United States by 2030. The agency now is taking public comment about its intent to rescind the plan.
The EPA proposal is online at epa.gov, at https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/electric-utility-generating-units-repealing-clean-power-plan-0.
Public News Service – AZ