Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s actions in February to temporarily block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan supporters from across the country are speaking out in defense of it. This week more than 50 city and county governments, and in a separate action, leading companies have filed amicus briefs supporting the plan to reduce carbon pollution in the U.S.
Implementation of the plan will likely help expand the use of renewable energy like wind and solar power. It will also help reduce the amount of pollution the U.S. produces and help reduce its impacts of climate change.
“More than 50 city and county governments from 28 states, together with The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National League of Cities (NLC), and the mayors of Dallas, Knoxville, and Orlando have signed an amicus brief explaining why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is critical to the safety and economic security of local communities across the United States,” according to the USCM. The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School authored the brief and filed it in federal court on April 1.
Similarly, two groups of companies have filed amicus briefs in support of the clean power plan. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, IKEA, Mars, Blue Cross Blue Shield MA and Adobe (collectively called Amici Companies) praised the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. “It is important to the Amici Companies that they reduce their carbon footprints by procuring their electricity from zero- and low-emitting greenhouse gas (GHG) sources, not only to be good stewards of the environment, but to also because it preserves their economic interests,” they wrote in their brief.
Similarly Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft (collectively called Tech Amici) filed a brief in support of the plan. They stated: “delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.”
“This plan will significantly cut carbon pollution from U.S. power plants; we must implement it now. Mayors know cities have the most to gain, as well as the most to lose in this debate because climate change and rising sea levels threaten the physical structure of our cities. Cities have been combating climate change for over a decade through our Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, but we need a national response."said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, USCM president.
The impact of climate change on urban areas is amplified by their dense concentrations of people, infrastructure, and commerce. More than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, making local governments responsible for protecting the wellbeing of an overwhelming majority of Americans.
"Cities have an essential voice to add to the legal debate over the Clean Power Plan," says Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. "All around the country, local governments have had to contend with the devastating impacts that sea level rise, heat waves and severe storms have on people and the infrastructure they depend on. At the same time, they have been among the first to seek innovative ways to reduce emissions and increase sources of clean energy. These cities know as well as anyone how important the Clean Power Plan is to the security and well-being of Americans, and how reasonable EPA's rule really is."
In all, 51 local governments signed the amicus brief. Cities including Miami Beach, Miami, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Los Angeles; Houston and more. USCM noted that 23 of the signatories are local governments within states that filed the lawsuit against the EPA.
“As the legal briefings pile up over the Clean Power Plan (CPP), I’m inspired by the growing number of companies and business organizations standing up for the most significant step in U.S. history toward reducing climate pollution,” wrote EDF’s Tom Murray, vice president of its Corporate Partnerships Program.Tweet