Air pollution from a nearby coal-fired power plant casts a thick haze over the North Rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. (paulbriden/AdobeStock)
TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona doctors are criticizing Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., for her support of the Trump administration plan to replace the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan placed limits on climate pollution from coal and gas power plants and enabled Arizona to transition to cleaner sources of energy.
McSally voted to replace it with the GOP’s Affordable Clean Energy rule (ACE), which would extend the lives of coal plants and minimize the federal role in curbing carbon pollution.
Dr. Barbara Warren, director of the Arizona Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, says there’s no excuse for rolling back the safeguards.
“There’s so many different ways and so many exciting ways that we can move on to clean, safe, renewable energy,” she states. “The extraordinary health impacts of pollution from automobiles – to roll back standards that have been there and been very successful in cleaning up our air and our communities, I think is criminal.”
Warren says it’s important for Arizona lawmakers and regulators to continue working toward using more renewable energy and establishing energy efficiency goals.
The Trump administration says its ACE rule can provide both air quality and economic growth, and describes the Clean Power Plan as “overreaching.”
Antonia Herzog, manager of the Climate and Energy program for Physicians for Social Responsibility, says the Clean Power Plan is a more effective tool to deal with climate change.
Proposed by the Obama administration in 2014, Herzog says it’s time to put tougher clean air policies back in place.
“We have to deploy more clean energy resources,” she stresses. “We have to reduce energy we use through energy efficiency.
“The Clean Power Plan had put us on the right path, and overturning it is sending us completely in the wrong direction.”
Climate change is believed to be the cause of Arizona’s expanding number of deadly extreme heat days during much of the year.
A Yale University study found 60% of Arizonans are worried about climate change, 60% believe it is affecting the weather, and 84% believe it’s important to promote sources of clean energy.
Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ