The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said Monday that President Donald Trump’s reversal of protections for millions of people who live in coal-fired power plants is an example of how the Republican Party has fallen short on its commitment to environmental issues.
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), the chairman of the panel, said Trump’s move is a “dangerous, reckless, irresponsible” decision that will leave millions of Americans without access to clean energy.
Brat called the move “the wrong way to go” and said the Republican leadership must now work with Democrats to “stop the carnage.”
He said the administration should also make clear that the government will not stand in the way of renewable energy, which would allow for a more efficient use of the nation’s resources.
“It’s time for Republicans to put a stop to this madness,” Brat said in a statement.
“The American people need to know that Republicans are going to stand up to this administration and protect the environment.”
Bridat’s comments came after Trump reversed a previous administration decision that would have allowed millions of low-income Americans who live near coal plants to continue receiving subsidies.
Bridant said the reversal is a step backward for the Republican agenda, which includes repeal of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a major Obama environmental policy initiative that requires states to reduce emissions from their power plants.
The Trump administration also said it will not enforce the rule.
“These decisions are dangerous, reckless and irresponsible, but I believe they are the right decisions for the future of our country,” Brant said in the statement.
Brent Bozell, senior vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, called the administration’s move a “travesty of the rule.”
Bozell said that Trump should now “work with Democrats on a clean energy plan that protects our communities, our environment and our jobs.”
Brat, a member of Trump’s transition team, said that he would not have supported the rule if he thought it would have “a positive impact on coal jobs and economic growth.”
“We will have to look at that,” Bratt said.
Brazile, who was Trump’s first White House press secretary, said Monday on MSNBC that she was disappointed with the decision, calling it “a betrayal of the American people.”
She said Trump was attempting to “create a regulatory nightmare” for the coal industry and that his reversal was “an act of cowardice.”
Braziles statement came after the president tweeted Monday that he will rescind the Clean Power Rule, which requires states that have not finalized plans to reduce their emissions to meet their 2020 emissions reduction goals to put them on hold.
Bryan Bender, a former EPA administrator who now runs the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said in an email that Brat’s position is “untenable” and “unwarranted.”
Bender said that Brats decision “will not serve as a deterrent to other governors or cities from trying to implement similar plans.”
He said that the administration is “entirely wrong” and that coal and energy companies should be able to “move forward with their plans.”
Brent Bender (@BrentBender) May 22, 2021Brazili said in his statement that the Trump administration has not taken the time to develop a comprehensive plan to address the threat of climate change, adding that it is “likely that this will result in further delay.”