Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), along Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-NY) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler on November 20th, requesting documents and information about the agency’s decision to roll back policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.
Despite dire warnings, the Trump EPA is attempting to dismantle three critical climate change initiatives with no regard for the associated climate and public health impacts. The actions include repealing the Clean Power Plan, which set limits on harmful carbon pollution from power plants, dismantling popular vehicle fuel efficiency and pollution standards, and rolling back the requirement that the oil and gas industry monitor and repair methane leaks.
“The tragic human and financial costs of unchecked climate change are high and increasing fast, and unfortunately the Administration’s actions for the last two years are only exacerbating these conditions,” DeGette, Pallone and Tonko wrote to Wheeler. “Combined, the Administration’s rollbacks willfully turn a blind eye to the dangers of climate change, putting American communities at risk and diverting EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.”
The Democratic Energy and Commerce Committee leaders continued: “We are requesting EPA provide us information that will help us understand how these decisions were made and how these actions will affect the environment and human health.”
In 2017 and 2018, the U.S. experienced 27 climate and weather disasters, resulting in the deaths of over 3,300 people and costs to the American public of more than one billion dollars each. The lawmakers also pointed to the devastating Camp fire in Northern California that has left more than 70 people dead and nearly 1,000 still missing.
The letter also comes after a recent United Nations report warned of drastic environmental and public health consequences without “rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure, and industrial systems” in order to limit global warming and temperature increases that could cause hundreds of millions of people to be exposed to water shortages, heat waves, and life-threatening flooding by 2050.
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