Security Experts Raise Concerns Over Ditching Clean Power Plan
FRANKFORT, Ky. – As President Donald Trump seeks to roll back programs that help slow climate change, national security experts say it could pose major problems for the U.S. military he's also trying to build up.
Brendan McKinnon, a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, says he once didn't spend much time thinking about the environment, but being deployed to the Arabian Gulf in 2008 changed his mind. He says the sole mission for him, and fellow U.S. Coast Guard members, was protecting the one functioning Iraqi offshore oil platform.
"The Defense Department has long recognized climate change not just as an environmental threat, but as a threat multiplier throughout the world, because it magnifies the issues that our military is deployed to deal with," he points out.
Trump argues that rolling back the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is part of a larger strategy to minimize government regulations that he says cost jobs and slow economic growth.
But his environmental legacy is prompting some major push back, including March for Science demonstrations later this month, on Earth Day.
Retired Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney, CEO of the American Security Project, says Trump is ignoring the fact that climate change makes the military's job harder and more dangerous.
Cheney stresses policies to fight a warming climate will make the nation safer in the long run.
"We feel strongly that the Clean Power Plan was a good idea, that we need to be transitioning over to renewable energies,” he states. “We need to get off of fossil fuels – in particular, coal."
McKinnon says 99 percent of scientists and a majority of Americans – including Trump voters – don't want to ditch the Clean Power Plan. He points out that there are opportunities for Kentuckians to stand up for their beliefs.
"The Science March coming up later in the spring,” he points out. “So, I think anything like that, where you can make your voice heard by the administration, so that they're hearing from more than the 12 coal miners that are on the stage with the president that think it's a good idea."
There are several March for Science events scheduled in Kentucky for April 22 – in Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green.