Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"The need to diversify our economy and restore our mountains and rivers has never been more urgent."

"The need to diversify our economy and restore our mountains and rivers has never been more urgent." (Photo: Getty)

We Will Fight Scott Pruitt's Attempts To Scrap The Clean Power Plan In Charleston

The plan would prevent 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks every year by 2030.

Mary Anne Hitt

 by The Hill
Despite what Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt would like Americans to believe, majorities of Americans in every state in the nation -- including West Virginia -- support the Clean Power Plan because it will save lives by keeping dangerous pollution out of our air and our water, help curb the climate crisis, and provide for diverse, dependable economic options to support families affected by the transition away from coal and fossil fuels.

As a mom and a West Virginian, I’m thankful to everyone planning to speak out about the importance of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Nov. 28 and 29 in Charleston. The EPA will be holding the nation’s only public hearing about its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan on those days, and I know it’s no accident that they’re holding the hearing in a place where the coal industry still wields significant political power. But that won’t stop community members from voicing their support for the Clean Power Plan and clean energy. Community groups are also hosting a separate Healthy Communities Hearing, to make sure that we’re really heard. Here is my message to EPA:

The Clean Power Plan is literally a life-saver: It would prevent 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks every year by 2030 and would also lower electricity bills by roughly 8 percent -- the list of benefits goes on and on. By cleaning up air pollution and reducing dangerous emissions that threaten our climate, it gives our kids a fighting chance at a safe, sustainable future.

Coal has been a central part of West Virginia’s economy, history and culture for decades, and the irreversible shift to clean energy that’s now underway poses big challenges to our state. But now, with the industry in decline, we’re stuck with what coal has left behind: polluted air, polluted water, dangerous working conditions, scarred landscapes, and a coal industry that wields its money and power without restraint to maintain its profits. The need to diversify our economy and restore our mountains and rivers has never been more urgent.

That’s another reason why I support the Clean Power Plan. We don’t have to choose between healthy communities and good jobs -- the Clean Power Plan creates a path for both. We can demand healthy communities and a healthy economy, where workers are trained for the good-paying, family sustaining clean energy jobs that are growing all over the country. There is no reason those jobs can’t grow right here -- and the Clean Power Plan offers a path to do just that.

It is my hope that the hearing will provide a safe place where all viewpoints can be heard, not just those Pruitt wants to push forward to justify ending this life-saving standard. Many are concerned that the scheduled hearing in West Virginia has all the markings of a sham, that it only gives a struggling industry a venue to intimidate people. That’s why the Sierra Club and partners throughout the region are working to ensure our voices are heard in Charleston, both at the EPA’s official hearing and at the Hearing for Healthy Communities, where all are invited to have their say about this critical, life-saving standard.

I am confident that voices in support of clean air, clean energy, and a safe climate will ring through the hills and hollows of the Mountain State at EPA’s Clean Power Plan hearing. After all, this is Almost Heaven, and we want it to stay that way.


© 2021 The Hill
Mary Anne Hitt

Mary Anne Hitt

Mary Anne Hitt is director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, which is working to eliminate coal's contribution to global warming and repower the nation with clean energy. www.sierraclub.org

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·


Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·


'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo