On February 20, 2018, 236 mayors from 48 states and territories issued a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt opposing EPA’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan was a pillar of the Obama administration’s efforts to tackle climate change. The Plan’s final rule was issued in October 2015, setting limits on carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. The Plan’s limits would have come into effect in 2022 and would have taken full effect by 2030. The Clean Power Plan was challenged in court, and, on February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Plan pending judicial review.
On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13783, which required a review of the Clean Power Plan. In October 2017, EPA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan in its entirety.
The mayors’ letter was issued as a comment to the Proposed Rulemaking. Collectively representing 52 million residents, the mayors noted that “on our current path, the annual cost of coastal storm damage is expected to climb to as high as $35 billion by the 2030’s and that coastal property valued at $66 to $106 billion will likely be under water by 2050.” The mayors emphasized that although local efforts are being made across the country to reduce contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, a national effort is required:
[T]he legal authority of cities and other municipalities generally extends only as far as their state governments and federal law allow, and as a result, our local efforts to address climate change are highly sensitive to national policies like the Clean Power Plan, which shape markets, steer state action, and have large direct impacts on nationwide emissions. We would benefit from the support and certainty that a federal framework could provide.
EPA is accepting comments on the Proposed Rulemaking through April 26, 2018.