29 States & Cities Sue Trump Over Climate Change

NEWSOM: ‘They are absolutely neglecting the next generation and shame on them…’

After SOTU, Calif. Atty. Gen. Warns He Will Sue if Trump Enacts Nat'l Emergency

Xavier Becerra/IMAGE: YouTube

(AFP) A coalition of 22 states and seven cities on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump’s administration to block it from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants.

Trump has dismantled economy-killing environmental overreach put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama, including the Clean Power Plan, which called for cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Finalized in 2015, it was put on hold by the Supreme Court, and the White House has ordered the Environment Protection Agency to work on a less onerous replacement, known as the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

“This administration has decided to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with a toothless substitute,” said California attorney-general Xavier Becerra, without evidence, at a news conference in Sacramento Tuesday.

“It’s anything but clean, and it’s anything but clean energy. President Trump’s attempt to gut our nation’s Clean Power Plan is just the wrong way to go,” he added.

The ACE rule would allow states to set their own standards for existing coal-fired power plants, rather than follow a single federal standard.

It foresees a lower overall reduction of power sector carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 than the regulation it would replace.

Tuesday’s challenge argues that it violates the EPA’s duty under the Obama-era Clean Air Act to address carbon dioxide from power plants, and artificially narrows the EPA’s authority, despite the Supreme Court’s action in 2016.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, could end up at the Supreme Court.

California governor Gavin Newsom said the Trump administration was “in the short-term business.”

“They are absolutely neglecting the next generation and shame on them,” he said.

Trump pulled the US out of the toothless Paris climate change accord committing countries to mitigating global warming in his first year in office.

He has ordered the Energy Department to pour millions into research to boost the performance of coal-fired power plants, which with smokestack scrubber technologies have improved significantly over the years in pollution control.

But the US energy mix is quickly shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, as a result of the fracking boom, and renewables due to heavy government tax incentives.

Coal consumption has plummeted to its lowest level in 40 years, thanks to Obama’s vow to destroy the industry. According to the Energy Department, bankruptcies have abounded, closing dozens of mines, shrinking capacity and idling hundreds of workers.

US voters have rarely considered climate change a top-priority presidential election issue.