Trump or­ders the lift­ing of Obama-era re­stric­tions on fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Bruce Fin­ley

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups are mo­bi­liz­ing, vow­ing to fight Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s lat­est ex­ec­u­tive or­der: a com­mand that fed­eral agen­cies dis­man­tle the na­tion’s poli­cies to cut green­house gas emis­sions linked to global warm­ing.

Hunters and an­glers are help­ing lead the op­po­si­tion.

Trump’s or­der, which he signed Tuesday, would over­haul the Clean Power Plan crafted un­der Pres­i­dent Obama to con­trol car­bon pol­lu­tion from power plants. The or­der also opens the way for leas­ing rights to mine coal on fed­eral public land and stops ef­forts to con­sider cli­mate change in fed­eral de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

“It’s a sense­less be­trayal of our na­tional in­ter­ests,” Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil pres­i­dent Rhea Suh said. “Trump is sac­ri­fic­ing our fu­ture for fos­sil fuel prof­its — and leav­ing our kids to pay the price. This would do last­ing dam­age to our en­vi­ron­ment and public lands, threaten our homes and health, hurt our pock­et­books and slow the clean en­ergy progress that has al­ready gen­er­ated mil­lions of good-pay­ing jobs.”

The En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fense Fund, which has cham­pi­oned free-market so­lu­tions to chal­lenges posed by cli­mate change, said the Trump or­der points the na­tion “back­ward to an era of more pol­lu­tion and more dis­ease.”

The or­der “will cost Amer­i­can lives,” EDF pres­i­dent Fred Krupp said. “Rhetoric about pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment can­not ob­scure the fact that the Pres­i­dent’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der launches a process ex­plic­itly de­signed to al­low air pol­lu­tion lev­els to go up. This will al­low pre­ma­ture deaths to go up, heart at­tacks and asthma at­tacks to go up, and sick days from work and school to go up.”

The EPA’s sci­en­tific anal­y­sis con­cluded that rescinding the Clean Power Plan would cause up to 3,600 more pre­ma­ture deaths a year, 1,700 more heart at­tacks, 90,000 more asthma at­tacks, and 300,000 more missed work days and school days, Krupp said.

“The pres­i­dent of­fers no re­place­ment plan to pro­tect our com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies from the clear and present dan­ger of cli­mate pol­lu­tion,” he said.

Sen. Michael Ben­net, D-Colo., also con­demned the pres­i­dent’s or­der.

“This anti-cli­mate Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der is a di­rect as­sault on the health of our chil­dren and clean en­ergy econ­omy,” Ben­net said in a state­ment. “Pres­i­dent Trump’s de­ci­sion to re­write the Clean Power Plan could jeop­ar­dize thou­sands of new jobs and bil­lions to our econ­omy, and pro­duce a con­fus­ing patch­work of state laws for Amer­i­can busi­nesses. It also could pre­vent the EPA from reg­u­lat­ing clean air and wa­ter, sac­ri­fic­ing a rig­or­ous sci­en­tific process in the name of ide­ol­ogy. In­stead of lead­ing the fight against cli­mate change and tran­si­tion to clean en­ergy, this Ad­min­is­tra­tion has aban­doned it.”

Sierra Club direc­tor Michael Brune is­sued a state­ment say­ing his or­ga­ni­za­tion “will fight Trump in the courts, in the streets and at the state and local level across Amer­ica.”

Warmer tem­per­a­tures last year broke records set in 2015. The heat records set in 2015 broke the records from 2014. Car­bon emis­sions from power plants, agri­cul­ture, ve­hi­cles and other sources cause global warm­ing, ac­cord­ing to scientists. And cli­mate change cre­ates con­di­tions that fa­vor in­tense storms, stronger heat waves and fre­quent droughts. More than 190 na­tions, in­clud­ing the United States, have agreed to try to limit global warm­ing to no more than 3.6 de­grees. Cut­ting car­bon emis­sions from power plants is a core el­e­ment in the U.S. strat­egy to do its part.

The Sierra Club’s Colorado direc­tor Jim Alexee em­pha­sized that clean en­ergy and en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency in­dus­tries em­ploy more peo­ple in the western United States than the fos­sil fuel in­dus­tries.

“All Trump is do­ing is try­ing to pro­long our re­liance on the fos­sil fu­els that pol­lute our en­vi­ron­ment, keep our en­ergy bills high and pre­vent new job growth,” he said.

The Na­tional Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion is­sued a state­ment say­ing Trump’s or­der “will be chal­lenged legally” be­cause it vi­o­lates law es­tab­lished by the U. S. Supreme Court.

“Our na­tion faces a choice: Do we want to re­spon­si­bly seize the mul­ti­tril­lion dol­lar global clean en­ergy market or do we want to cede lead­er­ship and mil­lions of in­no­va­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs to China?” NWF pres­i­dent Collin O’Mara said.

“The sci­ence is clear: we must re­duce in­dus­trial car­bon pol­lu­tion if we want to stave off wors­en­ing cli­mate im­pacts. The most ef­fec­tive way to do so is for Congress to put a price on car­bon pol­lu­tion, which would un­leash market forces that will cat­alyze in­no­va­tion and spur do­mes­tic job cre­ation. How­ever in the ab­sence of Con­gres­sional ac­tion, the Clean Power Plan and oil and gas meth­ane lim­its are sen­si­ble, af­ford­able, and legally re­quired ac­tions that will re­duce pol­lu­tion, help wildlife, and cre­ate jobs,” O’Mara said. ” We are deeply dis­ap­pointed in the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der seek­ing to dis­man­tle the Clean Power Plan, a thought­ful, legally sound, and flex­i­ble pol­icy to re­duce car­bon pol­lu­tion, spur job cre­ation and help wildlife. Fur­ther, the de­ci­sion to re­sume the fed­eral coal leas­ing — be­fore re­form­ing sub­mar­ket leas­ing prices and with­out en­sur­ing that de­graded min­ing sites will be re­claimed — will con­tinue to short­change taxpayers and local com­mu­ni­ties by con­tin­u­ing loop­holes and sub­si­dies that al­low more pol­lu­tion and harm im­por­tant wildlife habi­tat for iconic species like pronghorn, mule deer, elk, and sage grouse.”

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