En­vi­ron­men­tal groups vow to fight ex­ec­u­tive mea­sure

New Straits Times - - World -

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

AP PIC

A demon­stra­tor dressed as a po­lar bear at a rally against US President Don­ald Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der in Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day.

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