The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brian Willis, 202.675.2386,

Trump Releases Unlawful Dirty Power Plan, Rolling Back Life-Saving Pollution Limits

Trump and Wheeler gut Clean Air Safeguards to appease fossil fuel billionaires as economy continues to move away from coal


Today, former coal lobbyist and acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler released an unlawfully weak carbon pollution policy that would gut the Clean Power Plan's life-saving standards and do next to nothing to fight the climate crisis, continuing the agenda of disgraced former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Wheeler-Pruitt proposal pales in comparison to the previous Administration's ambitious policy to work with states to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, promote economic and environmental justice, protect public health, and remove barriers to America's clean energy economy.

As the first-ever standards to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan would have reduced carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 32 percent, prevented 90,000 asthma attacks per year, and avoided 3,200 premature deaths per year by 2030. All told, the EPA estimated that the Clean Power Plan would have provided up to $45 billion in climate and public health benefits a year, while also helping drive the rapid expansion of affordable clean energy industries like solar, wind, and energy efficiency.

In contrast, today's Wheeler-Pruitt Dirty Power Plan ignores the EPA's legal obligation under the Clean Air Act to address dangerous carbon pollution from power plants by merely passing the buck to states to act. The rollback asks states to set their own policies and does little to prohibit powerful fossil fuel groups from helping set weak pollution standards, which are unlikely to survive challenges in court and do little to combat the climate crisis.

In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, released the following statement:

"The Wheeler-Pruitt Dirty Power Plan is one of the Trump Administration's most egregious attacks on clean air, public health, and our fragile climate. The proposed rollback of life-saving clean air safeguards is an anemic rule that subjects the EPA to the very coal industry executives who used to sign Wheeler's paychecks and want to pollute with impunity. That is why the Sierra Club and communities across the country are committed to fighting this rollback and continuing our work retiring coal plants, championing clean energy, and protecting the health of our families. America will continue moving away from dirty, polluting fossil fuels and confront the climate crisis head on, with or without the Trump Administration."

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

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