Today (Sept. 27) a suit against Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which requires states to cut their power generation emissions 32-percent by 2030, is being heard in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Environmental and clean energy advocates have heralded the mandate but it has many Republican, fossil fuel industry and conservative opponents.
The Clean Power Plan places the first-ever limits on carbon pollution in the US and while states can propose their own plans to reduce emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to enforce it. While it has a broad coalition of support from industry, trade groups, municipalities, unions and more, it has raised the ire of some states, like West Virginia, which is leading the suit against the plan. Earlier this year the Supreme Court stayed enforcement of the plan remanding it to be reheard by the Circuit Court.
“America’s Clean Power Plan is grounded in law and science, and will help safeguard our communities from the extreme weather that has exacted a grim toll in lives lost and forever disrupted,” said Vickie Patton, general counsel for Environmental Defense Fund, a defendant party in the case. “Today we join with millions of Americans and a coalition unprecedented in its diversity and breadth—including numerous states and cities, former Republican heads of EPA, leading businesses such as Google and Apple, numerous power companies, the America Lung Association and many more—defending the Clean Power Plan in the race against time to address the climate crisis.”
“When it comes to fighting climate change—a grave environmental and national security threat—it’s critically important for the United States to lead by example. The Clean Power Plan does exactly that and should be upheld on its merits,” contended Tom Kimbis, interim president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Kim's added, “Forward-looking leaders in the private sector and in state government agencies are already moving forward with initiatives and policies to advance a clean energy economy. And with clean energy costs continuing to come down, hitting the plan’s goals is both achievable and affordable. The solar industry stands ready to help states achieve an optimal long-term strategy that brings much-needed jobs to America’s workers and cleaner air and water to America’s families.”
Likewise, American Wind Energy Association CEOTom Kiernan issued a statement on behalf of the plan. “As we are confident that the plan will ultimately be upheld by the courts, states only stand to gain by developing cost-effective plans to reduce their carbon emissions, which will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment, good-paying jobs, and make meeting inevitable carbon regulations easier, regardless of the fate of the case,” he said. “Americans can look to states like Colorado where wind energy at times has produced more than 60 percent of its main electricity demand while benefiting consumers through added economic benefits and hundreds of millions of dollars in savings.”
In a blog post, EDF Climate Legal and Regulatory Program Attorney Martha Roberts also noted that many states are already well positioned to comply with the plan. “Nationwide, states and power companies are already shifting their electricity generation to cleaner or zero-carbon resources. Because the costs of renewable energy have plummeted, markets are now driving new investments in clean energy.” She added, “The latest government data shows that United States power-sector emissions have already declined 21 percent since 2005—two-thirds of the way toward the 32-percent reduction the EPA anticipates the Clean Power Plan will achieve by 2030.”
No matter what happens in these hearings it’s widely expected that the Clean Power Plan and the suit will end up returning to the Supreme Court for a final decision.Tweet