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Earth Island Advocates in Action

EII General Counsel Sumona Majumdar’s Clean Power Plan Repeal Testimony

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Delivered to the US EPA at a listening session in San Francisco, CA on February 28, 2018.

Good afternoon. My name is Sumona Majumdar and I am here on behalf of Earth Island Institute, a hub of grassroots environmental activism in Berkeley, CA. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today in opposition to the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

Not surprisingly this room is packed with people urging EPA to remain committed to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

And why are we all here? Why are we taking time from work, family, or otherwise enjoying the day? We are here because we live on this planet and accept the scientific consensus that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere causes climate change, and that climate change is a threat to life as we know it. And for those of us with children, like myself, we also shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that they grow up in a world where life of all kinds can thrive, instead of a world that is wracked by devastating storms and droughts, where millions of people must relocate due to rising sea levels, and that is devoid of the wonderful biodiversity that we currently enjoy.

These concerns are not abstract. We are already feeling the effects of climate change, and more vulnerable populations in the United States and around the world feel them more acutely. Record high temperatures have caused heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially among the elderly and poor. Storms and floods have caused unprecedented damage to crops, leading to concerns about increased world hunger and its destabilizing effects. And I could go on.

We here in this auditorium are not the only ones that recognize the dangers we face from climate change. EPA has already determined that carbon dioxide, as one of the drivers of climate change, must be regulated in order to protect human health and the environment. As such, EPA enacted the Clean Power Plan, after extensive research, analysis, and public engagement. According to EPA, the full implementation of the Clean Power Plan by 2030 will reduce carbon dioxide from the power sector by 32 percent below 2005 levels. Additionally, it will significantly reduce the pollutants that create dangerous soot and smog, and thus prevent thousands of premature deaths, asthma attacks, and hospitalizations annually. So, even if EPA is now adverse to regulating carbon dioxide, it should still implement the Clean Power Plan in order to give American families the concurrent health benefits from less soot and smog.

Instead of repealing the Clean Power Plan, EPA should fully implement the Clean Power Plan and propose additional ways to reduce greenhouse gases and move towards a fossil-free future. Failure to do so is a derogation of its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act and will rob present and future generations of the stable climate and healthy atmosphere that is essential to survival.