With Days to Go, Trump EPA Makes Brazen Attempt to Thwart Future Climate Action

Statement by Julie McNamara, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jan 12, 2021

WASHINGTON (Jan. 12, 2021)—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule for regulating carbon emissions from new fossil fuel-fired power plants that could severely limit future climate action by the incoming Biden Administration, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The rule, to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, defines a new framework for determining a “significant contribution finding” for stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. The result is an agency determination that does not hold other major industries responsible for their carbon pollution, a major departure from past practice and not supported by science.

Below is a statement by Julie McNamara, senior energy analyst with the Climate & Energy Program at UCS.

“With just days to go in office and public attention rightfully focused on a nation in crisis, the Trump EPA is attempting to sneak through a radical dismantling of one of the very foundations upon which Clean Air Act climate standards are based. This last-ditch effort to advance a polluter-favoring agenda is a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to severely undermine the ability of the EPA to act on climate moving forward.

“This past year was tied for hottest on record globally. Communities across the nation were sent reeling from 22 separate billion-dollar disasters, together totaling nearly $100 billion in damages—and as the science makes clear, these impacts are only just the start. There is, without question, an urgent need to curtail carbon emissions. And yet, when confronted with these facts and the staggering costs to come, the Trump administration has once again forsaken the needs of the people it has a duty to protect and chosen instead to advance the interests of polluters.

“By defining a new and completely arbitrary metric for what is considered a 'significant' source of carbon pollution, the Trump EPA has attempted to preclude any future climate standards for stationary sources, from industrial boilers to oil and gas producers. This brazen and bad-faith rule is wasting valuable time to address climate change. It must be immediately undone by the incoming Biden administration.

“Quickly moving toward deep cuts in emissions across all sectors of the economy must be a key component of U.S. climate action strategy, including the stationary sources that EPA is legally responsible for regulating. New long-lasting infrastructure investments, in the power sector and beyond, must be aligned with our climate goals, and the EPA must do its part to ensure that.”