Earlier this week the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that the Clean Power Plan put in place by President Obama (D) will remain suspended for at least 60 more days. The Clean Power Plan limits carbon emissions from power plants across the nation through the Environmental Protection Agency. As such it promotes development of more clean power like solar and wind.
The Clean Power Plan, if implemented, will reduce greenhouse gases to 32 percent below 2005 levels. The plan would also reduce electricity bills by 7 percent in 2030 while creating $52 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and 560,000 new jobs.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and 14 other public health and environmental organizations urged the court to rule on the litigation’s merits. On an annual basis, the Clean Power Plan would save up to 3,600 lives prevent 90,000 childhood asthma attacks and reduce more than 300,000 school and work days.
However, the Supreme Court issued a stay for the plan in February 2016 and the district court heard it in September 2016. Then Trump Administration filed requests to indefinitely postpone implementation of the plan.
“We are in a race against time to protect our communities and families from the clear and present danger of climate pollution,” said Tomás Carbonell, Directory of Regulator Policy and Senior Attorney for Environmental Defense Fund. “Just today, we were reminded of compelling evidence of the dangers to all Americans in a draft report for the National Climate Assessment. And the Supreme Court has ruled three times that the Environmental Protection Agency has a responsibility under our nation’s clean air laws to protect Americans from the pollution that causes climate change.”
In the hearing two judges concurred that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does have a legal duty to regulate climate pollution. Circuit Judges Tatel and Millett said that the EPA has an “affirmative statutory obligation to regulate greenhouse gases.” They also said that an indefinite delay in the case could stop the EPA from complying with the plan. Under the order the EPA must file status reports every 30 days.
“EDF, along with millions of concerned Americans, will keep working to ensure EPA complies with its legal obligations and acts to protect our nation from climate pollution,” Carbondell said.Tweet