As the Trump administration takes dangerous steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan—one of our nation’s most important actions to tackle climate change—today, in West Virginia, they held the only scheduled public hearing on their rollback plan. Sara Jordan, LCV’s legislative representative, ventured six hours away to coal country, where she made the case that the Clean Power Plan would provide vital public health benefits while encouraging and accelerating investments in clean energy. As Sara put it, “this attempt to scrap the Clean Power Plan is just another cynical scheme that advantages polluters at the expense of our health and well-being.” Read Sara’s testimony below:
My name is Sara Jordan and I was born in San Antonio, Texas and now reside in Washington, DC. I am speaking today as a concerned citizen and as a legislative representative of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), and in both capacities, I oppose Scott Pruitt’s attempts to roll back the Clean Power Plan.
Thank you to the EPA for the opportunity to comment on these important clean air standards and to represent LCV in this discussion. LCV has more than 2 million members across the country, and our mission is to turn environmental values into national, state, and local priorities. We work to advance these goals in close partnership with nearly 30 state partners.
The Clean Power Plan set the first ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants, which would provide vital public health benefits while encouraging and accelerating investments in clean energy. With this plan, we could prevent 90,000 asthma attacks and 300,000 missed work and school days every year by 2030. And, by the Trump administration’s own estimates, it would also save 4,500 lives annually.
The Clean Power Plan would also accelerate the transition to clean energy that is already underway in our country. Clean energy jobs have seen incredible growth in recent years, with solar and wind jobs growing at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. In fact, the fastest-growing profession in the country is that of a wind turbine technician.
However, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to repeal the Clean Power Plan at the urging of coal company executives; he’s not listening to the majorities of people in all 50 states who support setting strict limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Even in a time when communities across the country have suffered from the devastating impacts of climate change—intensified hurricanes, wildfires, floods, droughts—this administration hasn’t taken the climate crisis seriously. Instead, they’ve habitually focused on maximizing the profits of their polluter friends. In fact, this attempt to scrap the Clean Power Plan is just another cynical scheme that advantages polluters at the expense of our health and well-being, all under the guise of protecting coal community jobs.
That isn’t to say there aren’t impacts on working men and women in West Virginia and other coal dependent communities. The economic challenges faced by coal miners and their families are real and they are significant. As we look for cleaner energy solutions, the needs of these communities cannot be ignored.
But we can both transition to cleaner energy and support coal-dependent communities. This transition doesn’t require a false choice between a healthy economy and a healthy environment, as the Trump administration would have you believe. And, coal miners deserve better than a false and empty promise to revive the coal industry.
To be clear, without the Clean Power Plan, we will miss the economic opportunities that clean energy promises. We will have more sick kids here and in the rest of the country, more expensive hospital visits, and thousands of premature deaths that could have been prevented. It simply doesn’t make sense to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
My family, and future generations, are counting on the health protections and economic opportunities the Clean Power Plan provides for all people in this country. I strongly urge the EPA to stop this reckless attempt to roll back these essential clean air standards.