SEEC Leads Effort Opposing Clean Power Plan Replacement that Could Harm Public Health

Feb 26, 2018 Issues: Climate Change, Energy, Environment

Washington D.C. – Earlier today SEEC members Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán and Bonnie Watson Coleman led a letter signed by 65 Members of Congress to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt regarding concerns that the EPA will replace the Clean Power Plan with a plan that puts public health at risk. In its recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the EPA signaled that it may replace the Clean Power Plan with an option that could produce little to no climate benefits and, evidence suggests, may seriously harm human health by increasing sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and ozone pollution.

A signed copy of the letter can be found here. This letter was also led by SEEC Co-Chairs Reps. Doris Matsui, Gerry Connolly, and Paul Tonko, and SEEC Vice-Chairs Reps. Matt Cartwright, Alan Lowenthal, Chellie Pingree, Mike Quigley and Jared Polis.

“My district is one of the most polluted districts in the nation, where the sight of refineries next to homes and neighborhood parks is a common occurrence,” said SEEC Member Rep. Barragán. “EPA Administrator Pruitt’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with an ‘inside the fenceline’ approach is projected to have a negative impact on public health, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color. Frontline communities like mine are the ones who feel the negative impacts of climate change first and worst, and our letter urges the EPA to remain committed to programs like the Clean Power Plan that serve the EPA’s core mission of ensuring that the air we breathe is safe and free from contamination.”

“I am alarmed by the continued attempts by the Trump Administration and EPA Administrator Pruitt to undermine federal clean air standards,” said SEEC Member Rep. Watson Coleman. “Federal environmental protections need to be science-based and need to prioritize the health of Americans. Instead of building upon the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, Scott Pruitt is looking to propose a rule that could instead lead to greater exposure to air pollution and the health risks associated with them. This kind of reckless plan is projected to spew greater levels of dangerous pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, particulates, and smog into our air, disproportionately and particularly harming New Jersey residents. Americans need to breathe less smog, not more. Unfortunately, this is the latest example of the Trump and Pruitt agenda — prioritizing lining the pockets of polluters at the expense of the safety of the American people.”

“This is about ensuring equal access to clean air and protecting the health of every community,” said SEEC Co-Chairs  Reps. Connolly, Matsui and Tonko.  “Research tells us an ‘inside the fenceline’ approach like the one the EPA appears to be considering could lead to increased health hazards and more premature deaths, while the more flexible approach in President Obama’s Clean Power Plan would increase health benefits and protections for everyone. Administrator Pruitt needs to know that we will not accept any approach that fails to protect public health and does not take meaningful steps to protect the American people from the dangers of climate change.”