The Trump Administration Releases Worst Climate Policy Ever
Even As Some House Republicans Start to Take the Lead
A Statement by the Rev. Mitch Hescox,
President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network
On Monday, the Trump Administration released the worst policy proposal in our nation’s history regarding the greatest moral challenge of our time, climate change. In their efforts to dismantle the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s climate change policies, the Clean Power Plan, put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2015, the Trump Administration has now offered a replacement — the so-called Affordable Clean Energy Rule, or ACE Rule. Instead of reducing climate pollution 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, as the Clean Power Plan would do, it would reduce it by, at most, 1.5 percent. As such, it is a worse-than-worthless climate policy.
What we need is strong, bold action, not a whimpering retreat into a false fantasy of coal’s resurgence.
While it’s a do-nothing climate regulation, it is very active when it comes to worsening the health of our children. Even the Trump Administration, with an Administrator and the head of the air pollution office who are both former industry lobbyists, couldn’t hide the fact that air pollution will be worse under their plan. According to an EPA technical analysis, the Trump worse-than-worthless plan would lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths every year caused by soot (PM 2.5). The extra smog or ozone would lead to “48,000 new cases of exacerbated asthma and at least 21,000 new missed days of school annually by 2030,” according to an analysis of the technical report by the New York Times.
An excellent approach to making our country’s climate policy great again is legislation recently introduced in the House by Congressman Curbelo (R-FL, 26th) and several of his Republican colleagues. Their MARKET CHOICE Act (HR 6463) is a carbon tax that meets our pollution reduction commitments under the Paris Climate Accord. Seventy percent of the revenue would go into a Highway Trust Fund to help rebuild our transportation infrastructure; it would replace the gas tax. The remaining funds would be used to help low income households, fund clean energy and pollution-reduction R&D, assist displaced energy workers, and help coastal areas adapt to rising sea levels.
While we organized over 200,000 pro-life Christians to support the Clean Power Plan, the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) has always preferred market-based approaches like a carbon tax. We are grateful for Congressman Curbelo’s courageous leadership, and look forward to working with him to fine-tune the MARKET CHOICE Act.
In the meantime, we strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s worse-than-worthless climate regulation, the so-called ACE Rule. We hope the courts never let it see the light of day.