Environmental advocates expressed concern about the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) planned repeal of the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration's central legislation aimed at cutting carbon emissions from power plants.
"Rolling back this plan will put us all in danger," wrote the National Resources Defense Council on Twitter on Wednesday after Reuters obtained an internal EPA memo indicating the move.
The Clean Power Plan has been under the review by President Donald Trump's EPA since March. The rule was introduced in 2015 with the goal of bringing carbon emissions to 32 percent below pre-2005 levels, over 15 years.
Agency head Scott Pruitt is expected to "solicit input on a rule to replace" the plan, according to Reuters. The memo surfaced just a day after the New York Times reported how Pruitt has what is essentially an open-door policy for industry executives and lobbyists while shunning those pushing for environmental protections.
On social media, progressive voices stressed that the Clean Power Plan, while an imperfect solution to the issue of humans' contributions to climate change, represents the United States' strongest effort in recent years to reduce fossil fuel emissions and shift to other methods of producing energy. A growing number of countries around the world are taking their own steps in this direction, including China, which has steadily reduced its carbon emissions over the last four years, and Scotland, which announced on Tuesday that it would ban fracking.
Others drew attention to the EPA's own research which showed earlier this year that the Clean Power Plan would ultimately improve Americans' lives and prevent loss of life.
If Trump repeals Clean Power Plan or replaces it w/a weaker plan, it will cost lives. EPA's own analysis shows this https://t.co/iALIspJQzo— Fred Krupp (@FredKrupp) October 4, 2017
According to a CNN report in April, after the EPA announced it would review the plan, "The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that when implemented, the plan would prevent 3,600 premature deaths a year. In addition, the agency said, it would prevent 1,700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks and 300,000 missed days of work or school a year."