Trump’s Plan to Roll Back the Clean Power Plan Will Kill People

Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator who made his career off of suing the EPA, has announced that he will sign a rule to roll back President Obama’s central legacy on climate change, the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan set concrete goals for reducing carbon pollution from power plants that produce our electricity.

Here are five reasons why this roll back is so dangerous.

1. Power plants account for nearly 40% of the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions, which are heating up our atmosphere and leading to more extreme weather events.

2. The EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan would have prevented 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks, and 300,000 missed days of work or school per year.

3. To repeal the Clean Power Plan, the Trump administration is literally arguing that human beings’ lives and health matter less than the bottom line. That’s heartless and unethical. It’s also wrong. Though fossil fuels are often considered “cheaper” than renewables, that’s because we do not consistently factor in the true societal cost of burning them. Everything from polluted air in cities to the storms and wildfires exacerbated by climate change cost average people a lot of money. We have to pay for damage to our homes, evacuation from disasters, inhalers for our children, heart attacks and illnesses developed after living near power plants, and more. The Obama administration calculated that the Clean Power Plan would be economically beneficial because it took these costs into account. Trump’s EPA wants to take them out of the equation.

4. The people who are the most impacted by climate change and the toxic effects of living near fossil fuel production sites in the United States are mostly low-income, communities of color. Meanwhile, fossil fuel executives would only grow their record profits thanks to fewer restrictions on how much they can pollute our planet while the most marginalized among us pay the consequences.

5. It’s a feminist issue! Around the world, women are more likely to bear the brunt of extreme weather events and less likely to be in the decision-making bodies that control everything from urban planning to foreign climate policy. Blocking bold climate action is another tear in the social safety net that women build and rebuild.

The Trump administration’s proposed repeal likely won’t go down without a legal fight. But let this stand as just one more example of how blatantly the Trump administration is willing to sacrifice the health and safety of Americans for the coffers of their fossil fuel industry cronies — and why it’s vital that all of us fight back.

Header image credit: Union of Concerned Scientists.

Daniela Lapidous is a writer, researcher, and climate organizer at heart. She currently lives in New York City researching decentralized social movements and organizing with Sunrise, a new movement of young people committed to stopping climate change, transitioning our country to a renewable energy economy, and creating thousands of good jobs in the process. She is a Columbia University alum and Bay Area native.

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