California’s status as a progressive bastion on climate change action has been challenged by activists who attempted to barricade the way to a major summit in San Francisco and decried the oil and gas drilling they say is blighting the health of low-income and minority communities.
The Trump administration is seeking to roll back regulations on methane leaks from oil and gas facilities. The Trump administration is moving to roll back Obama-era rules intended to reduce leaks of methane from oil and gas facilities.
And in August, the agency proposed replacing the rule on carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants with a weaker one that would allow far more global-warming emissions to flow unchecked from the nation’s smokestacks.“They’re taking them down, one by one,” said Janet McCabe, the E.P.A.’s top climate and clean-air regulator in the Obama administration.Officials from the E.P.A., the Interior Department and the White House did not respond to emails and telephone calls seeking comment.Industry groups praised the expected changes.
The formulas are complex, but the bottom line is that reducing the emphasis on health makes it tougher to justify a rule.Last week the Trump administration took a crucial step toward de-emphasizing the life and health benefits in this calculus when the Environmental Protection Agency said it would rethink a major regulation that restricts mercury emissions by coal-burning power plants.
That rule would have restricted coal plants’ emission of a different pollutant: carbon dioxide, one of the chief causes of global warming.At the time the Obama administration put forth the mercury regulations, which took more than 20 years to formulate, E.P.A. officials estimated they would save thousands of lives and return economic and health benefits many times their estimated $9.6 billion annual cost.While owners of coal plants fought the rule in the courts, most have since complied with regulation.
Not only does California need to make up some of the climate slack created by the Trump administration, but the state is now ahead of its targets, with 29% of electricity last year generated from renewables and over 50% from zero-carbon sources (including nuclear and hydroelectric power).
That’s because they give the public a chance to interact with representatives from industry and other groups, like environmental organizations.Ms. Oge recalled a public hearing that included the mother of a child with severe asthma sitting next to an oil executive.
Environmental groups on May 8 targeted Ford Motor Co. over its stance on the U.S. clean fuel standard, delivering a petition with 250,000 signatures urging the automaker to drop support for weaker emission rules.