Protesters, Policymakers and a Polar Bear Try to Protect Clean Power Plan

Students from the Melrose Leadership Academy and Urban Promise Academy hold signs and march at a rally outside of City Hall, calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the Clean Power Plan, in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, February 28, 2017. (Lauren Hanussak/KQED)

California’s top energy and environment officials today protested the federal rollback of the Clean Power Plan — an ambitious effort to slash carbon pollution from power plants nationwide.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt led a charge against the Clean Power Plan when it was proposed by the Obama Administration in 2015, claiming it was an overreach of the government’s regulatory authority.

Since appointed by President Trump to lead the EPA, Pruitt has sought to scrap the plan. Now the agency is seeking comment about whether and how to do that, at a series of public meetings.

The Environmental Protection Agency listens to community comment and concern regarding the Clean Power Plan at the San Francisco Public Library in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, February 28, 2017. (Lauren Hanussak/KQED)

Protesters, Oregon state leaders, and members of the public also showed up to the event, which was billed as a “listening session.” Air Resources Board chairwoman Mary Nichols pointedly asked federal officials who they were listening to.

“Is it the voices, the outdated technologies of the past? Or the ever-growing numbers of people across this country who are demanding clean energy?” Nichols said. “We in California have already made our choice.”

Protesters, ranging from students to religious proponents to mothers hold signs at a rally outside of City Hall, calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the Clean Power Plan, in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, February 28, 2017. (Lauren Hanussak/KQED)

California’s choices mean the state already exceeds the Clean Power Plan’s intended goals, and then some  — a point Nichols and other officials made repeatedly. But they also argued that climate change remains a major threat to infrastructure, health and other assets in the Golden State.

Sponsored

The California Energy Commission’s Courtney Smith said that the reducing greenhouse gas emissions is “critical to the resilience of [the] power sector, as the impacts of climate are threatening critical infrastructure and making it more difficult for us to ensure reliability.”

Smith also pointed to climate-driven catastrophes like wildfires, heat waves and sea level rise as risk factors that the Clean Power Plan could help mitigate.

“Without the ability to plan for this unpredictable loss, near-term needs must be met with natural gas, which increases greenhouse gas emissions.”

Sponsored

The EPA is accepting comments on the Clean Power Plan through April 26th.

Volume
KQED Live
Live Stream
Log In ToPledge-Free Stream
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
Live Stream information currently unavailable.
Share
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
KQED Live

Live Stream

Live Stream information currently unavailable.