A coalition of 22 US states and seven cities on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump’s administration to block it from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants.
Trump has set about systematically dismantling environmental regulations put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama, including the Clean Power Plan, which called for cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
Finalized in 2015, it was put on hold by the Supreme Court and the White House has ordered the Environment Protection Agency to work on a less stringent replacement, known as the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.
“This administration has decided to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with a toothless substitute,” said California attorney-general Xavier Becerra at a news conference in Sacramento Tuesday.
“It’s anything but clean, and it’s anything but clean energy. President Trump’s attempt to gut our nation’s Clean Power Plan is just the wrong way to go,” he added.
The ACE rule would allow states to set their own standards for existing coal-fired power plants, rather than follow a single federal standard.
It foresees a far less ambitious overall reduction of power sector carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 than the regulation it would replace.
Tuesday’s challenge argues that it violates the EPA’s duty under the Obama-era Clean Air Act to address carbon pollution from power plants, and artificially narrows the EPA’s authority.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, could end up at the Supreme Court.
California governor Gavin Newsom said the Trump administration was “in the short-term business.”
“They are absolutely neglecting the next generation and shame on them,” he said.
Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change accord committing countries to mitigating global warming in his first year in office.
He has ordered the Energy Department to pour millions into research to boost the performance of coal-fired power plants.
But the US energy mix is quickly shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, as a result of the fracking boom, and renewables.
Coal consumption has plummeted to its lowest level in 40 years, according to the Energy Department, and bankruptcies have abounded, closing dozens of mines, shrinking capacity and idling hundreds of workers.
US voters have rarely considered climate change a top-priority presidential election issue, but that is changing.
An April CNN poll labeled it as the single most important issue to Democratic primary voters, topping health care.
© 2019 AFP
No vaccine, no carnival, Rio’s samba schools warn
Some of Rio's biggest samba schools say they will not participate in next year's Carnival unless a coronavirus vaccine is widely available, Brazilian media reported Tuesday.
Five of the 12 top samba schools, including Mangueira and Beija Flor, told Brazil's O Globo newspaper they would vote to postpone the parades at a meeting set for Tuesday.
"It's simple. If there's no vaccine, there will be no samba," said the head of the Sao Clemente school, Renatinho Gomes.
"How can you gather crowds without collective immunity?"
The mayor of the northwestern city of Salvador de Bahia, where festivities also attract thousands of tourists, has proposed postponing the carnival season nationwide until April or June.
New York couple point guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their house
A New York couple pointed guns at protesters marching past their house during a Black Lives Matter rally, and activists want them to be charged.
Protesters were nearing the end of their parade route when a white man came out of his home shouting obscenities in an apparent attempt to incite the group, and then yelled to his wife to get his gun, reported WNYT-TV.
Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson, who took part in the march, said the woman came back outside and started waving the gun around.
Australian columnist aghast at America’s ‘rotten’ COVID-19 response: ‘We are witnessing the fall of a great power’
A columnist for an Australian newspaper has been watching the United States' response to the novel coronavirus with a mix of shock and horror -- and he now believes "we are witnessing the fall of a great power."
Crispin Hull, an editor and columnist for The Canberra Times, argues in his latest column that President Donald Trump's disastrous handling of the pandemic is symbolic of deep rot within the American political system.