Clean Power Under Attack

Pruitt’s EPA Rolls Back Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Author: Jhoanna Enriquez, Earth Day Network
Date: October 18, 2017

In Trump’s America, the EPA works for polluters, and petty maneuvering to undermine previous accomplishments qualifies as “draining the swamp”.

On October 10th, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a “proposed rule to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration, and thus begin the effort to withdraw that rule[1].”

President Obama’s 2015 plan aimed to decrease carbon emissions in the environment, reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 32% below the emissions in 2005 by the year 2030[2].  Repealing this plan is a huge step back for the United States and for the environment.

The EPA was established to protect the environment but it is more and more clear that Scott Pruitt took the position of EPA Administrator to protect polluters.

Discarding the Clean Power Plan has been a long-term goal of Pruitt, as he was an outspoken opponent while serving as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, even suing the Obama administration alongside a group of state attorney generals. In fact, Pruitt has sued the EPA multiple times and has received over $300,000 from major companies in the fossil fuel industry[3].

Trump and Pruitt both consistently reject the scientific evidence that fossil fuels damage the environment and argue that people will lose their jobs under the Clean Power Plan.  But that’s not the case. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2016, there are 53,420 people in the coal industry[4], a small number in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of jobs that clean energy creates. In 2016, “the U.S. solar industry employed 260,007 workers, nearly a 25% increase in the number of jobs from 2015”[5] and that number is expected to increase even more. In fact, one out of every 50 new jobs in the United States is in the solar industry. The wind power industry is also producing record numbers of jobs, a gain of 88,000–that’s 20%, in just one year[6].

The job market doesn’t lie. It shows steady demand for renewable sources of energy and that demand is growing.

The first Earth Day in 1970 led to the creation of #OurEPA. On Earth Day 2017, Earth Day Network marched for science in Washington DC to support facts and science-based public policy. The actions of this administration may attempt to reverse the hard work of the environmental movement since 1970 – but we won’t let our progress be rolled back. Truth will prevail and our country will continue its steadily progress towards renewable energy.

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[1] http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-epa-clean-power-plan-20171009-story.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/07/trump-epa-plan-obama-standards-power-plant-emissions

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/08/scott-pruitt-trump-administration-epa-oil-gas-environment

[4] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_212100.htm

[5] http://fortune.com/2017/02/07/us-solar-jobs-2016/

[6] https://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/pressrelease.aspx?ItemNumber=8736