What just happened at the Environmental Protection Agency?

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Written by Madeline Head

The Environmental Protection Agencies administrator, Scott Pruitt, announced Tuesday plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, Clean Air Act, in its entirety. Their basis for rescinding the Clean Power Plan is because there is no actual legal basis. The statement also claimed repealing the Clean Power Plan, “ will also facilitate the development of U.S energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources.”


The Clean Power Plan, under President Barack Obama, set new standards that would reduce carbon emissions from power plants for the first time. The Union of Concerned Scientists stated, “power plants were allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere – no rules were in effect that limited their emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global warming.” Under President Barack Obama, the EPA estimated that the Clean Power Plan could prevent 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.


This repeal proposal, as stated by The New York Times, fulfills a promise President Trump made to eradicate his predecessor’s environmental legacy. Also, stated by The New York Times, eliminating the Clean Power Plan makes it less likely that the United States can fulfill its promise as part of the Paris climate agreement to ratchet down emissions that are warming the planet and contributing to hear waves and sea – level rise. Mr. Trump has declared to abandon that international accord.


After the nation just experienced Hurricane Harvey, which CNN stated it dumped so much rain on Houston it dented the earth’s surface, should we be allowing the Clean Power Plan to be repealed? At a time when some of the worst wildfires the state of California has ever seen burn and kill, do we even have a choice?


“It’s been clear to me that now has to be the time to talk about climate change, that’s pretty clear,” Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator under President Barack Obama, told CNN.


“If people are actually losing their lives, their property, their sense of security because of sever weather events that we know are tied to changing climate, if (Pruitt) is sitting in his office and still writing this, clearly this proposal reflects that he’s not engaging with career staff in a robust way.”


We have to ask why this is happening when there seems to be a significant amount of evidence that states global warming is real. There are significant signs that the Earth is warming. National Geographic states, “The easiest way to see increasing temperatures is through the thermometer records kept over the past century and a half. Around the world, the Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the last century, and about twice that in parts of the artic.”


The question becomes is this happening because of money? A leaked draft of the repeal proposal, as stated by The New York Times, “asserts that the country would save $33 billion by not complying with the regulation and rejects the health benefits the Obama administration had calculated from the original rule.” Who exactly would be saving the $33 billion?


McCarthy believes the Trump administration is “just making it up as they go along.”


Liz Bowman, EPA spokeswoman, endorses this plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan by claiming it is “about President Trump’s America First Strategy.” She continued to state,


“While the previous administration characterized the CPP as the solution to climate change, even former administrator McCarthy didn’t dispute that the rule would only reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by 0.2% by 2100, or said another way, reduce sea level rise by 1/100th of an inch (essentially two sheets of paper think.”


America, do you feel like you are being put first? Would the Clean Power Plan even be worth protecting? This decision does not just affect our lives but the lives of our children and their children. America, what are you going to do about the repeal? Is $33 billion really worth the lives of so many?

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