EPA Hides Clean Power Plan Hearing; Can’t Hide Truth About Business Case for Cutting Carbon, Clean Energy

By Bob Keefe

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to hold its first and only hearing to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the innovative program the EPA itself created to reduce carbon pollution, protect our environment and increase clean energy, back when the EPA cared about such things.

The Trump Administration and new EPA chief Scott Pruitt claim that by putting limits on carbon pollution on existing power plants, the Clean Power Plan will hurt our economy and jobs. They say businesses don’t like the plan.

That’s just not true.

If it were, the EPA might’ve been more forthcoming when planning this week’s hearing.

Instead, it held it on a Tuesday after Thanksgiving, in the not-so-easy-to-get-to-city of Charleston, West Virginia, the epicenter of the nation’s coal industry back when coal was king. It’s not a coincidence that Charleston (pop. 51,000) is where Donald Trump in May 2015 proclaimed: “We’re going to put the miners back to work. We are going to get those mines open. Oh, coal country!”

Just because the EPA is making it easy for coal miners but tough for anybody else to appear in person at its hearing on the future of America’s energy industry doesn’t mean there isn’t widespread support for the Clean Power Plan. To the contrary, just about anybody who cares at all about our economy and our environment – including the majority of  Americans – is in favor of the commonsense idea of cutting carbon pollution and increasing clean energy and the jobs that come with it.

That includes business leaders and investors all across the country.

Some evidence:

*In connection with the EPA hearing,  E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) this week will send this letter signed by more than  500 business leaders to the Trump Administration and members of Congress voicing their support for the Clean Power Plan. These individuals range from Silicon Valley investors to small business owners located all across the country.

*Some of our country’s biggest businesses – companies that have nothing to do with energy generation – widely support the Clean Power Plan. In a 2016 court filing, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Google explained why: “Delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.”

*Like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Google, other businesses support the Clean Power Plan because they know reducing energy waste and increasing clean energy would create jobs and drive economic growth.  By how much? According to E2’s analysis, the Clean Power Plan could create up to 560,000 jobs in solar, wind, energy efficiency and other industries, adding $2 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2030. Reducing energy waste through better efficiency policies that would come with the CPP could reduce average household electricity bills by about 7 percent – creating savings increasing disposable income for Americans everywhere.

By ignoring the economics and the businesses in support of the Clean Power Plan and by holding their only hearing on repealing it in coal country during the winter holiday season, the Trump administration is hiding from reality and trying to twist the truth.

Business leaders and investors see past the charade. The Trump administration should remember that.

Bob Keefe is executive director of E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) a national, nonpartisan group of business owners, investors and others who advocate for policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. E2 members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs and collectively control about $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. 

Image credit: Boston Public Library, Flickr

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