MADIGAN & COALITION OF STATES, COUNTIES & CITIES FIGHT UNLAWFUL REPLACEMENT FOR CLEAN POWER PLAN
U.S. EPA’s Own Analysis of Clean Power Plan Replacement Predicts Over 60 Million Tons More Climate Change Pollution & Over 1,600 More Premature Deaths Per Year By 2030
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined a coalition of 26 states, counties, and cities calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to abandon its proposed replacement to the Clean Power Plan, the first nationwide limits on climate change pollution from existing fossil-fueled power plants. In comments filed with the EPA, Madigan and the coalition charge that the proposed replacement rule is replete with factual inaccuracies, analytical errors, and legal flaws and as a result, would be unlawful and harmful to the environment.
In their comments, Madigan and the coalition stressed the overwhelming scientific evidence of human-induced climate change and its increasing impacts, and the corresponding need for the EPA to perform its duty under the Clean Air Act to set nationwide limits on power plant emissions of climate change pollution.
“The EPA’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy proposal is neither affordable nor clean,” Madigan said. “When the U.S. EPA ignores its duty to uphold federal environmental laws, we suffer from the dangerous effects of climate change.”
According to the EPA’s own analysis, its replacement proposal – which it has dubbed the “Affordable Clean Energy” Rule – could actually increase emissions of climate change pollution and other harmful pollutants from power plants. The EPA estimates that under its proposed rule, up to 61 million more tons of carbon dioxide would be emitted from power plants in 2030, as compared to the Clean Power Plan. The EPA also estimates that its proposed replacement rule would cause power plants to emit up to 39,000 more tons of nitrogen oxides and 53,000 more tons of sulfur dioxide in 2030 compared to the Clean Power Plan.
As a result of the increased air pollution, the EPA predicts it would lead to an additional 1,630 premature deaths, 120,000 asthma attacks, 140,000 missed school days, and 48,000 lost work days by 2030, compared to the Clean Power Plan. The EPA also estimates that the increase in deaths and illnesses will fall disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color that are already overburdened by pollution.
The Clean Power Plan is the culmination of a decade-long effort by partnering states and cities, as well as the U.S. EPA under the Obama administration, to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. Along with the companion rule applicable to new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, the Clean Power Plan intended to control emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that power plants can emit. The Clean Power Plan would eliminate as much climate change pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year – or 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars.
Joining Madigan in submitting today’s comments and defending the Clean Power Plan were the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (through its Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Also joining the comments were the cities of Boulder, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and South Miami, as well as Broward County, Fla.
Last month, Attorney General Madigan testified at the only hearing held by the EPA on its proposal. Madigan testified in strong opposition to the EPA’s proposal, calling it a dangerous retreat in the battle to address climate change.