President Donald Trump last week signed an executive order that rolls back the Clean Power Plan and other lifesaving clean air protections. This latest attack on clean air and water will hit low-income people in our cities the hardest.
The Clean Power Plan (CPP) is a historic policy to reduce dangerous pollution and fight climate change. The policy was created on the basis that all Americans deserve clean air. The unfortunate truth is that the dangerous impacts of climate change impact every American. But in places like Detroit, home to some of America’s most-polluted ZIP codes, the effects are especially devastating.
According to the NAACP, 68 percent of African-Americans in the U.S. live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. Low-income communities of color are disproportionately affected by the consequences of exposure to air pollution, with higher risks of asthma, other respiratory diseases and premature death. By reducing dangerous pollution from coal-fired plants, the CPP protects families’ health, creates new opportunity and investment, and will save ratepayers money in the long term.
States and local communities will have to lead the way in the fight against climate change. The Detroit Climate Action Collaborative, an initiative of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, is developing the city of Detroit’s first Climate Action Plan, which will lay out policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare Detroit for the effects of climate change.
Trump said, “Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry,” in describing the CPP. But clean energy policies and economic prosperity go hand-in-hand. Contrary to Trump’s dated rhetoric, we can continue creating clean energy jobs without compromising the health of the American people, which would indeed make America greater.
Tuesday’s executive order clearly shows Trump believes big polluter profits are more important than the health and quality of life of the American people.
Kimberly Hill Knott, director of policy
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice