Bennet leads in the fight against Trump’s energy order

In a political equivalent of The Emperor Has No Clothes, Sen. Michael Bennet unleashed a tirade against Donald Trump that charged, “This Administration is not operating in reality. It is operating in the theater of the absurd, where policies have no relationship to problems, facts don’t matter, and false promises to struggling Americans are just another political tactic to win a cable news cycle.”

While that description applies to the Trump administration in general, the source of Bennet’s ire was Trump’s executive order, issued a day earlier, rolling back environmental protections installed by the Obama government’s Clean Power Plan. The president’s order rescinds rules limiting carbon emissions, lifts a moratorium on coal leases on federal land and ends requirements that federal officials include potential environmental impact on climate change when issuing regulations.

Designed as a desperate effort to revive a declining market for fossil fuels, and to create jobs in the fossil fuel energy sector, Trump’s presidential order would essentially end U.S. efforts to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

Trump’s plan will come at a great cost to the American people. Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp said, “Rhetoric about protecting the environment cannot obscure the fact that the President’ executive order launches a process explicitly designed to allow air pollution levels to go up. This will allow premature deaths to go up, heart attacks and asthma attacks to go up, and sick days from work and school to go up.”

Calling the anti-climate executive order “a direct assault on the health of our children and clean energy economy,” Bennet said, “President Trump’s decision to rewrite the Clean Power Plan could jeopardize thousands of new jobs and billions to our economy, and produce a confusing patchwork of state laws for American businesses. It also could prevent the EPA from regulating clean air and water, sacrificing a rigorous scientific process in the name of ideology. Instead of leading the fight against climate change and transition to clean energy, this Administration has abandoned it.”

EPA scientists reported that rescinding the Clean Power Plan would cause up to 3,600 more pre-mature deaths a year, 1,700 more heart attacks, 90,000 more asthma attacks, and 300,000 more missed work days and school days, according to Krupp.

“It’s a senseless betrayal of our national interests,” said Natural Resources Defense Council president Rhea Suh. “Trump is sacrificing our future for fossil fuel profits — and leaving our kids to pay the price. This would do lasting damage to our environment and public lands, threaten our homes and health, hurt our pocketbooks and slow the clean energy progress that has already generated millions of good-paying jobs.”

As Krupp also points out, “The president offers no replacement plan to protect our communities and families from the clear and present danger of climate pollution.”

Sen. Bennet, who has been joined by more than 30 of his Democratic colleagues, wrote to President Trump that his order should be rescinded because it “fails to bring clean energy jobs to our rural communities, ignores the impacts that extreme weather will have on the economy and our national security, and does not decrease our reliance on foreign oil.”

Among other reasons for rescinding the presidential order, the senators argue in their letter, is that it fails to address revitalization of coal communities’ economy for 21st century jobs. Neither does it support clean energy jobs, which is one of the fastest growing new employment sectors in the country.

“We stand ready to work with you and your Administration in reaching a balance between achieving energy independence, promoting innovation, and growing our rural economies,” the senators wrote to the president. “Unfortunately, your Executive Order takes the nation in the wrong direction. In order to account for the unique needs of our Western states, we respectfully request you rescind the Energy Independence Executive Order.”

Trump’s effort to prolong our dependence on the fossil fuels that pollute our environment, destroy our health and cost us high energy bills will fail as the advantages of low-cost, renewable energy are increasingly apparent. Bennet and his colleagues need to increase the pressure on Trump to rescind this short-sighted order.

Bill Grant lives in Grand Junction. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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