The NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
The decision by President Donald Trump to roll back the hard-fought progress made on clean air and clean energy is extremely disappointing and dangerous.
We are now on a dangerous path that puts workers, communities and the planet in harm’s way. Already, 76,000 coal miners have died of black lung disease since 1968. The reopening of coal leases potentially writes a death sentence for thousands more while the families who have lost loved ones already continue to fight for their right to benefits.
The unfettered advancement of polluting fossil fuel based energy production, coupled with the rollback of safeguards through the Environmental Protection Agency equals increased asthma attacks for children in communities that host polluting facilities, more heart conditions for those in petrochemical corridors, continued proliferation of cancer clusters in our most vulnerable communities, and more.
With 2016 being the hottest year on record, thousand year floods happening annually, and the first community to be displaced by sea level rise, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of climate impacts in the United States. The federal government’s decision to repeal the previous administrations progressive climate change policies, we are on course to experience deeper, more severe catastrophes.
Communities of color and low income communities feel the impact first and more severely due to pre-existing vulnerabilities. Those vulnerabilities include a lack of choices in housing inventory, under-insurance and being more likely to dwell in floodplain areas.
Our work to help localities to increase their capacity to adapt to climate change becomes even more important. We will continue to work with communities to ensure that they are in the driver’s seat when it comes to decision making regarding spearheading, implementing, and evaluating local climate action plans. We will continue to work with Climate Central and NOAA to empower communities to assess risks and vulnerabilities to sea level rise and develop plans for addressing the impact of water overtaking the land. In addition, we will continue to work with Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disaster and ensure that they receive equitable resources to coordinate disaster response.
At the same time, we are working to mitigate the advancement of climate change by establishing local clean air ordinances at the municipal levels in addition to urging states to follow the visionary examples of California and Iowa; two states that have already made significant strides in the clean energy transition that will be necessary nationwide to stem the tide toward more catastrophic climate change. We firmly refute the idea that a choice must be made between sustainable well-paying jobs or turning the tide of catastrophic climate change. Jobs which historically have created irreversible changes in life as we know it and in some cases, obliterated lives altogether.
With one out of every 50 jobs in the United States being a solar job, the solar sector alone is in the top 10 fastest growing sectors in the United States with 374,000 solar jobs in 2016 and a growth rate that is 12 times that of the U.S. economy. A wind turbine technician is the fastest growing profession in the United States. Energy efficiency, which reduces pollution and saves customers from their energy bills, offers 1.9 million jobs and, if prioritized, stands to creates 245,000 more jobs in 2017 alone. And the list goes on.
We refuse to allow political pandering to come at the stake of the lives of our communities when we know that there is an alternative that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs while upholding the well-being of workers and communities and preserving the environment upon which we all rely for our very existence.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.