Environmental groups vow to fight executive measure
CHICAGO: Environmental groups that have hired scores of new lawyers in recent months are prepared to go to court to fight a sweeping executive order from President Donald Trump that eliminates restrictions on fossil fuel production and rolls back his predecessor’s plans to curb global warming. But, they said they’ll take their first battle to the court of public opinion.
Advocates said they planned to work together to mobilise a public backlash against an executive order signed by Trump on Tuesday that includes initiating a review of Barack Obama’s signature plan to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, among others.
During his campaign, Trump, who has called global warming a “hoax” invented by the Chinese, said he would kill Obama’s climate plans and bring back coal jobs.
Even so, “this is not what most people elected Trump to do; people support climate action”, Natural Resources Defence Council director of government affairs David Goldston said.
He said Trump’s actions were short-sighted and would not bring back the jobs he promised.
While Republicans had blamed Obama-era environmental regulations for the loss of coal jobs, federal data showed that United States mines had been shedding jobs for decades under presidents from both parties because of automation and competition from natural gas, and because of solar panels and wind turbines.
But, many people in coal country were counting on the jobs that Trump had promised, and industry advocates praised his orders.
“These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous administration’s strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy,” said Chamber of Commerce president Thomas J. Donohue.
The order would chip away at other regulations and rescind Obama-era executive orders and memoranda, including one that addressed climate change and national security.
Environmentalists said clean energy would create thousands of new jobs and feared Trump’s actions would put the US at a competitive disadvantage to other countries that were embracing it. But, they believed efforts to revive fossil fuels would fail because many states and industries had been embracing renewable energy and natural gas.
“Coal is not coming back. While the president is taking big action, he is doomed to fail,” said Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen.
A coalition of 16 states and the District of Columbia said they would oppose any effort by the Trump administration to withdraw the Clean Power Plan (CPP) or seek dismissal of a pending legal case before a federal appeals court in Washington.
Meanwhile, California, one of the most progressive states in the US on climate issues, is heading towards a legal showdown with the Trump administration over its environmental policies.
“Gutting #CPP is a colossal mistake and defies science itself,” Governor Jerry Brown said in a tweet. Brown had led California’s climate change crusade, which saw the state significantly slash its yearly climate-warming emissions in the last decade by about 35 million metric tonnes.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Brown on Tuesday in saying that Trump would meet with fierce resistance over his new directive. Agencies
A demonstrator dressed as a polar bear at a rally against US President Donald Trump’s executive order in Washington on Tuesday.