The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brian Willis, 202.675.2386,

Sierra Club Submits More Than 56,000 Comments Against 'Despicable Dirty Power Plan'


The Sierra Club submitted more than 56,000 public comments from its members and supporters opposing the Trump Administration's Dirty Power Plan today, the deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) comment period. Since the policy's announcement by former coal lobbyist and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Dirty Power Plan has been routinely denounced by public health professionals, elected officials, and business leaders as a blatant giveaway to the struggling coal industry at the expense of human health and the climate.

"Andrew Wheeler's despicable Dirty Power Plan is nothing more than a free pass to pollute for the declining coal industry and will result in the death of thousands of people across our country -- all so Wheeler's former employers and Donald Trump's presidential campaign contributors can keep raking in big profits, despite the clear economic reality that the nation is moving away from coal," said Mary Anne Hitt, Senior Director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "Instead of focusing on the growth of clean energy and transitioning coal workers with dignity to new economic opportunities, this administration is doubling down on dangerous emissions that kill people and ignoring to the greatest environmental threat of our time: global climate change."

EPA's own analysis has shown that the Dirty Power Plan will lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths from increased soot emissions (as well as 230 deaths from increased smog), up to 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems, and more than one hundred thousand missed school and work days annually by 2030. Despite undeniable proof that major emissions cuts are needed to protect public health and to combat the climate crisis, Wheeler's Dirty Power Plan rolls back requirements on pollution controls for coal-fired power plants and doesn't require any pollution reductions from states or coal plant operators.

"The Dirty Power Plan further solidifies Wheeler's reputation as a coal industry careerist intent on doing everything he can to help corporate polluters, even while holding public office," Hitt added. "These rollbacks will not stop coal plants from retiring nor halt America's transition to clean energy -- they only strip our communities of important clean air protections so coal executives don't have to spend money they could easily afford curbing dangerous pollution. It's a shameful policy that's the exact opposite of EPA's mission."

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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