'The fight for clean air and a healthy planet has just begun': Environmental groups slam Trump's latest executive order

On Tuesday, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order designed to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a climate bill created by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama Administration. 

The bill, designed to limit carbon emissions, was one of former President Obama’s signature achievements on the environment, though it has been blamed by some for job losses in the coal industry.

Business Insider reached out to a number of environmental organisations who panned Trump’s executive order and spoke about what they allege as the disastrous ramifications of bolstering the fossil fuel industry. 

“Trump’s latest effort to roll back rules that cut climate pollution is just another demonstration of how isolated and out of touch he is,” Kathryn Phillips, the Director of the California Sierra Club, told Business Insider in an email.

Phillips said that, according to energy experts, coal is no longer economical because renewable energy costs — like solar and wind — are dropping so fast that investors are moving away from carbon-based fuel sources. 

Plus, “polling shows that the majority of the public believe that climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed,” Phillips added. 

John Coequyt, the climate policy director for the Sierra Club, echoed Phillips’ concerns. 

“It’s incredibly disappointing to see this done by someone who very obviously hasn’t spent any time seriously thinking about the serious implications of climate change,” Coequyt told Business Insider.

Coequyt called Trump’s executive order a “very political decision,” and said that it won’t “substantially impact” the US’s domestic energy production. 

“We don’t believe that the Clean Power Plan was responsible for the changes that are taking place in the power sector, and repealing it won’t change that,” Coequyt added. 

Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency told Business Insider that “with the stroke of a pen,” Trump demonstrated that he doesn’t understand the realities of climate change or the “domestic economic boom” created by clean energy. 

“[W]e now see the raw power of the dark money invested in his administration by fossil fuel barons,” Tamminen said. “The fight for clean air and a healthy planet has just begun.”

A federal EPA employee contacted by Business Insider who worked on the Clean Power Plan said they were “deeply saddened” by the executive order, and called out what they feel is Trump’s “utter disregard for science.”

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, sent a series of tweets Tuesday in response to the executive order. He was not available for comment when Business Insider contacted him.

“(Trump’s)
burying his head in the sands while the seas rise,” Brune tweeted. He added, “It’s Orwellian to hear politicians claim that letting coal companies pollute will clean our air & water….The only thing these (executive orders) will really do is threaten our drinking water & clean air & ignore the climate crisis”

Brune finished his tweetstorm with a warning: “Clean energy is unstoppable
 and coal is on the decline. The market, the public, and the law demand it. Trump won’t undo climate progress. We will see him in the streets, in the states, and in the courts.”

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