NRDC Goes to Court to Challenge Dirty Power Scheme

The Trump administration’s do-nothing plan for addressing the climate crisis not only fails to reduce planet-warming emissions, but it also breaks the law.

West Virginia coal power plant
Credit: iStock

Major public health and environmental groups, including NRDC, took legal action today asking the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy Rule—the Trump administration’s watered-down rule to replace the Clean Power Plan that was issued in 2015 to tackle the climate crisis. 

“We’re going to court today to stop Trump from destroying the clean air laws we have to protect Americans’ health and safety from the nation’s biggest climate polluters,” says David Doniger, senior strategic director of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy Program. 

The Obama-era Clean Power Plan required limits on the carbon pollution produced by power plants—this would have reduced the sector’s emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. In fact, that goal has already nearly been met, thanks to a rapidly decarbonizing power industry. But instead of capitalizing on these trends, the Trump administration dismantled the Clean Power Plan, replacing it this past June with a rule that could allow pollution to increase in comparison and, in certain cases, cost more

Scientists around the world have warned that the planet must drastically reduce carbon emissions within decades if it’s to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. “With climate change impacts rising and clean energy costs falling, the EPA should be strengthening the Clean Power Plan,” Doniger says, “not scrapping it for a do-nothing dirty power scheme.” 

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