Opinion: We Need Leaders Like Scott Peters to Stop Trump’s ‘Dirty Power’ Plan

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A coal-fired power plant in Virginia. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

By Mary Creasman and Gene Karpinski

Californians are experiencing the impacts from climate change right now. Wildfires rage across the state in the worst season in history, costing lives and destroying communities.

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We all have a right to a safe and healthy community, and Californians count on the Environmental Protection Agency to protect us from dangerous air and water pollution that makes our kids sick. Sadly, the Trump administration has taken steps to dismantle two clean air policies: the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Car Standards.

The Clean Car Standards, which set limits on carbon pollution emitted by vehicles, saves consumers money at the pump. According to a recent report, the average Californian family would annually lose $690 in savings if these standards were completely removed. Additionally, this rollback would undermine California’s own fuel-efficiency standards, which are among the strongest in the country.

So we’re glad to see that San Diego’s Congressman Scott Peters has supported these standards from the beginning, and recently condemned the rollback of this commonsense policy.

Coming on the heels of the rollback of the Clean Car Standards, Trump’s EPA has also announced it will eliminate carbon-pollution limits for coal-fired power plants known as the Clean Power Plan, and replace it with a plan where states will police themselves. This is a dirty power scam and it will have far-reaching consequences that put the health of our families at risk. In fact, the EPA’s own analysis shows that this reckless move could lead to 1,400 premature deaths per year.

It’s clear that current EPA Administrator (and former coal industry lobbyist) Andrew Wheeler is eagerly continuing Scott Pruitt’s dangerous policies to promote corporate polluters at the expense of our health and safety. Luckily, Congressman Peters is fighting back, calling the proposal “another step backwards.”

Peters highlighted how Trump’s new plan dismisses the increasing impacts we are seeing today from climate change, like the devastating and record-breaking wildfires that are raging across California and the West. He has also called attention to the recently released Climate Change Assessment for California — which paints a “catastrophic picture for the rest of the century: worsening wildfires, eroding beaches and rising temperatures that would result in greater demand for electricity” — and issued a powerful rallying cry of the urgent need to address climate change: “Without action, our environment and children will suffer.”

The reality is that the Clean Power Plan was the result of extensive public engagement, will save lives, and has strong public support — 8 million Americans submitted comments in favor of the Clean Power Plan. We also know that the Clean Car Standards deliver the safe, clean, fuel-efficient cars that we want and need.

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Now, more than ever, we need leaders who are willing to stand up to corporate interests and fight for a healthy future for our children. We commend Congressman Peters for supporting these lifesaving clean-air protections and strongly opposing Trump’s scheme to bury them.


Mary Creasman is chief executive officer of the California League of Conservation Voters and Gene Karpinski is president of the national League of Conservation Voters.

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