As the Trump administration escalates its assault on a broad range of bedrock environmental protections – including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Car Standards, the Clean Power Plan, and many others – state leaders have not been sitting idly by. State Attorneys General throughout the nation have been playing an important role in protecting public health and the environment from these harmful rollbacks – with many taking this fight to the courts, in some cases successfully safeguarding key environmental protections like clean air and clean water and opposing offshore drilling.
Why does this matter to North Carolinians?
Last year, the Trump administration repealed the Clean Power Plan – the first-ever nationwide limits on emissions from fossil fuel power plants. But they didn’t stop there. The administration’s “fix” was to replace the landmark Clean Power Plan with what we call the “Dirty Power Rule,” a regulation that hardly mentions climate change, public health or environmental impacts. According to EPA’s own estimate, the Dirty Power Rule would result in an overall emissions reduction of 35 percent – far short of the 74 percent needed to limit the increase in global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius, a key goal in the fight to stop the climate crisis. In August 2019, 29 states and cities, including North Carolina, filed a lawsuit against the EPA, arguing that the Dirty Power rule violates the Clean Air Act and promotes dirty, expensive coal power instead of clean energy. The coalition of State Attorneys General argues that the Clean Air Act, one of the nation’s foremost environmental laws, requires that limits on pollutants, including greenhouse gases, must be achieved through the “best system of emission reduction.”
It’s clear, however, that the Dirty Power Rule seeks to prop up coal-fueled power generation and undermine less carbon-intensive, cost-effective strategies for slashing climate pollution. This misguided rule goes even further in its efforts to dismantle climate action by blocking states from joining cap-and-invest programs that have proven to reduce emissions.
State Attorneys General are fighting back. Tell them to keep holding the Trump administration accountable for giving polluters a free pass, wrecking our environment, dirtying our air and making our cars less efficient.