RICHMOND (August 21, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s proposed plan to replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP) with a weaker one thatPresident Trump’s own EPA says will lead to more premature deaths, tens of thousands of cases of asthma and respiratory disease, and make climate change even worse:
“Here in Virginia, we are already seeing the devastating, irreversible effects that climate change and sea level rise can have on communities, especially in areas like Hampton Roads, which now face the prospect of spending billions of dollars on infrastructure and coastal resiliency measures in the coming decades,” said Attorney General Herring. “If the Trump Administration’s proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan goes into effect carbon emissions across the country would go up, which would lead to dirtier air and potentially thousands of premature deaths. As a country, we need to be working together to make our planet healthier for future generations, but instead, the Trump Administration continues to work in favor of the oil and coal companies, not the American people. I am ready to take every action necessary to halt the adoption of this dangerous and woefully insufficient replacement of the Clean Power Plan.”
Attorney General Herring joined a coalition of attorneys general defending the Clean Power Plan. That coalition includes New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, New York City (NY), Broward County (FL), Boulder (CO), Chicago (IL), Philadelphia (PA), and South Miami (FL). The states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania and the City of Los Angeles also joined in comments the coalition filed in April opposing repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
The CPP, which was developed over several years with an unprecedented amount of input from states, cities, nonprofits, the business community, and the public, calls for a 32% national reduction in carbon pollution from power plants by 2030, including a 32% reduction in the Commonwealth’s carbon output by 2030, roughly the same reduction the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says Virginia achieved between 2007 and 2012. The CPP, along with the companion rule applicable to new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, would control these emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that power plants can emit. The CPP would eliminate as much climate change pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year – or 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars.
Among the harms that Virginia faces from increasing climate change are:
- The Hampton Roads area has experienced the highest rates of sea level rise along the East Coast.
- Ordinary rain events now cause flooding in the streets of Norfolk, including large connector streets going underwater.
- Norfolk naval base, the largest navy base in the world, is currently replacing 14 piers due to sea level rise, at a cost of $35-40 million per pier.
- According to Old Dominion University’s Center for Sea Level Rise, the city of Norfolk alone will need at least $1 billion in the coming decades to replace current infrastructure and keep water out of city homes and businesses.
- According to a recent study by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, costs from three feet of sea-level rise in the Hampton Roads region are expected to range between $12 billion and $87 billion.