New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood is taking steps to preserve the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30% nationwide. Underwood, with a coalition of 24 State Attorneys General across the country, is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals to reject the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempts to rescind and replace the plan.
The Clean Power Plan was President Obama’s program under the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions from power plants and would have been the U.S.’s contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement. Electricity production represents the largest source of emissions in the country. The plan would have required states to propose how they would decrease emissions from power plants by increasing use of renewable energy and substituting natural gas for coal.
The Trump administration’s attempts to repeal the plan include an Energy Independence Executive Order, requests through the Court System to delay a decision on the plan’s legality, removing restrictions on oil and shale energy production, and “replacing” it with a plan to encourage coal energy.
The coalition of states argued that the EPA has failed to meet its obligation under the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution. While the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a temporary suspension of the Clean Power Plan in order to allow the EPA to revise it, the agency has not put forth a finalized plan that would sufficiently reduce emissions and combat climate change. According to the agency’s own analysis, the replacement plan could result in over 100 million tons more carbon dioxide emissions and over 1,000 more premature deaths.
NYLCV will continue to advocate for an adequate plan to reduce emissions from power plants and combat climate change.