The Climate Mayors are at it again. This time, the 236 mayors from 47 states and territories have joined signatory power in a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, opposing Administrator Scott Pruitt’s efforts to dismantle the Clean Power Plan.
The EPA is scheduled to hold a “listening session” in Kansas City on Feb. 21 regarding the proposed repeal, one of three sessions announced last year. Pruitt has suggested that the Clean Power Plan is not consistent with the Clean Air Act, and the EPA news release refers to it as “punishing regulation.” Pruitt has publicly denied the link between human activity and climate change in the past, and has recently begun speculating that a warming planet may be beneficial to humans.
“Not only are climate change impacts felt locally — our communities are also where climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts are being implemented,” the letter states. “But the 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.”
The group of city leaders began taking action after the 2016 election, first urging President Trump to act on climate change, then stressing the importance of national policies like the Clean Power Plan and vehicle fuel efficiency standards, then vowing to uphold the Paris Agreement locally after the president announced that the U.S. would bow out. At this point, there seems little chance that the administration will listen to them, but that doesn’t mean their efforts are in vain.
“The nearly 400 members of the Climate Mayors network have already begun to implement policies to drive emission reductions and address adaptation concerns in their cities,” Sarah King, a project manager for the Climate Mayors group, recently told Curbed. “I believe that this mayoral focus on effective climate policies will continue regardless of whether or not the Clean Power Plan is in fact repealed.”
The full letter is available here.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.