NYC's “People’s Hearing” on the repeal of the Clean Power Plan

For Immediate Release

New York, NY- Today, the New York State Office of the Attorney General and the New York City Office of the Mayor, in partnership with NYC Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Environmental Protection Committee Chair, and The New School, presented the New York City People’s Hearing on the Repeal of the Clean Power Plan. The Trump administration will not be holding hearings in New York on the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan—the first-ever nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil-fuel power plants. The “People’s Hearing” will ensure New Yorkers’ voices are heard on this important measure. 

Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York, gave the following testimony: 

“As if it wasn’t already clear, 2017 provided much more evidence that we are changing our planet in dangerous ways. The average temperature across the United States was 2.6°F warmer than normal – making it one of the three warmest years in U.S. history. Fires raged across western states, with more than a million acres burned in Montana , while in California wildfires burned into the usually-calm month of December – destroying thousands of homes and millions of acres of forest. The massive Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria brought unprecedented levels of rain, storm surges, and heavy winds – super-charged by unusually warm ocean temperatures – to Houston, parts of Florida and Puerto Rico. And seawater increasingly flooded low-lying areas in places such as Annapolis, Atlantic City, and Miami, as sea-levels continued to rise.

“These signs are a planet-wide fire alarm, warning us that we are burning far too much coal, oil and gas. We know that major reductions in global warming pollution are urgently necessary, that we must stop putting carbon into our air and repower our society with clean, renewable energy. However, the Trump administration is pouring more fuel on the fires of climate change instead of trying to put them out.

“The administration is working to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, the first and only federal limit on global warming pollution from power plants that protects public health, promotes climate change solutions, and encourages investment in clean energy.

“If fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan would reduce U.S. power plant emissions 32% by 2030 with huge corresponding health and environmental benefits. By 2030, it would prevent as many as 4,500 premature deaths each year , along with 90,000 asthma attacks and 300,000 missed work and school days. Repealing the Clean Power Plan would mean more sick kids, more expensive hospital visits, and thousands of premature deaths that could have been prevented – and could lead to more intense and destructive severe weather events.

“The Clean Power Plan would also accelerate the transition to clean energy that is already underway. Here in New York, our state has been a leader to cut power plant pollution as part of the innovative and successful “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.” Along with 8 other northeast and mid-Atlantic states, we’ve committed to cut dangerous pollution from power plants across the region, helping to slow the warming of our planet and clean up our air. But this program by itself is not enough to stop catastrophic climate change.

“We’ve seen states, cities, and businesses across the country moving forward with clean energy solutions that reduce air and carbon pollution and grow the clean energy economy. In contrast, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and others in the Trump administration are attempting to take us backwards by repealing the Clean Power Plan with limited public engagement and transparency.

“This is ridiculous! The Clean Power Plan didn’t come out of thin air -- EPA conducted extensive public outreach and solicited stakeholder feedback from every corner of the country. It is based on a strong legal foundation-- consistent with the law, earlier court precedents, and other EPA standards that protect Americans from dangerous pollution. Americans have sent more than 8 million comments to EPA in support of standards limiting carbon pollution from new and existing power plants – the most ever received by the agency.

“Dismantling the Clean Power Plan poses grave risks to citizens and communities across New York and the United States. Climate deniers and fossil fuel lobbyists have freedom of speech in this country. However, they do not have the right to yell fire in a movie theater, and they do not have the right to endanger my present and our children’s future.

“Ignoring air pollution won’t make our country great for kids with asthma or older Americans who struggle to breathe. Ignoring climate change won’t make American families safe from storms powered by oceans that are rising and growing warmer or wildfires fueled by hotter temperatures. When it comes to global warming, President Trump needs to accept the science, recognize the reality, and put the health and well being of Americans first.” 

Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York, providing testimony at NYC's “People’s Hearingon the repeal of the Clean Power Plan.