We were part of the senior team at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Obama administration, when the agency's mission truly was to protect the health of American families from dangerous pollution and act on perhaps the greatest challenge of our time: climate change.
Our work was built on laws passed by Congress, like the Clean Air Act, which created the tools we needed to carry out the mission; the tireless work of legions of our gifted and dedicated EPA career colleagues; and a president who was as committed to the mission as we were.
To us, success was the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule we and our colleagues wrote and President Barack Obama announced in August 2015. The CPP established the first-ever federal regulations to limit carbon dioxide—one of the chief pollutants causing climate change—from power plants. It's the same rule the Trump EPA repealed last week when it announced the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.
Had the CPP gone into effect, the EPA's 2015 analysis showed that by 2030 power plant CO2 emissions would have fallen by 32 percent below 2005 levels and the pollutants that cause life-threatening smog and soot would have been reduced significantly. The CPP pollution cuts would have saved thousands of lives and prevented tens of thousands of pollution-related illnesses.
In sharp contrast, the Trump administration's ACE will achieve virtually no reductions in CO2 emissions and next to no cuts in soot and smog pollution. It will prevent next to none of the premature deaths, cardiac problems, lung damage or asthma attacks suffered by the most vulnerable among us—our kids, seniors and poor families—that the CPP would have prevented.