With a sweeping executive order aimed at dismantling climate protections, the Trump administration today directed the reversal of the Clean Power Plan and revoked a series of previous actions aimed at combating climate change, from limits on methane leaks to a moratorium on coal leasing on federal public lands.
“This is an unprecedented and irresponsible effort to reverse any climate protections and clean energy progress this country has achieved,” said Senior Attorney Frank Rambo, leader of SELC's Clean Energy and Air program. “The South, in particular, stands to lose at a time when our communities are feeling the impact of climate change, whether it’s sea-level rise that floods the coast, or extreme heat and storms that destroy property and crops. The South is poised to gain from the Clean Power Plan with thousands of new jobs in our region, yet today’s action jeopardizes that.
“Americans have long risen to the challenge of tackling pollution while growing the economy,” added Rambo. “We strongly disagree with the current administration’s stance that you can’t do both.”
A federal appeals court could issue a ruling any day on legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan—the landmark action that would reduce harmful carbon pollution and speed the country’s transition to cleaner, more affordable energy choices—yet the administration has stepped in to derail the court’s review.
In today’s order, President Trump instructs the U.S. Department of Justice attorneys defending the Clean Power Plan to consider asking the court to halt its work so that the current administration can draft a weaker rule.
“Today’s action fits a troubling pattern from this administration to short circuit the judicial process,” said Rambo. “No one can use a magic wand to wish away the Clean Power Plan. It’s built on undeniable science and years of extensive public input. It’s an innovative, market-driven approach to solving the most pressing environmental challenge of our time. Scrapping it is a mistake that will hurt the South.”
Several Trump appointees, including Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, have worked closely with, or on behalf of, energy and gas companies that have pushed for fewer environmental regulations.
"Fossil fuel lobbyists should not be dictating our environmental policy,” said Rambo. “Instead of trying to turn back the clock on America’s recent clean energy advances, the administration could help communities across the South benefit from the jobs and manufacturing opportunities in the clean energy economy so we can compete internationally.”