Obama Administration Recommits to Carbon Reduction in Face of Supreme Court Stay of Clean Power Plan

Even as the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted implementation of EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) pending a June appeals court review, the Obama Administration has declared its ongoing commitment to cutting carbon emissions and its confidence that the CPP “will prevail on the merits.” In a public statement, the administration also noted that EPA will continue helping states develop CPP implementation plans.

While nearly 30 states, as well as utilities and coal companies, have challenged the CPP in court, it is unusual for the high court to stay a federal regulation as such cases are litigated.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, environmental justice organizations pointed out that the high court has already upheld EPA’s authority to regulate power plants’ carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act ,and that its ruling does not decide the case's legal merit. They also echoed the administration’s confidence that the CPP will ultimately move forward.

ECC Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca commented, "While the Clean Power Plan continues to be adjudicated in the courts and debated in legislative chambers, Emerald Cities Collaborative will continue to advocate for the reduction of carbon emissions. The low-income communities and communities of color we care so much about are adversely impacted by carbon pollution. That being said, we will continue to support the CPP and other governmental measures that seek pollution relief for ‘hot spot’ communities located within the footprint of power plants."

The administration’s statement also says it disagrees with the Supreme Court decision “while litigation proceeds” and expresses confidence “that we will prevail on the merits.”

The statement adds that the Clean Power Plan, which “is based on a strong legal and technical foundation…will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country and major progress in our efforts to confront the risks posed by climate change.”

It continues, “Even while the litigation proceeds, EPA has indicated it will work with states that choose to continue plan development and will prepare the tools those states will need. At the same time, the administration will continue to take aggressive steps to make forward progress to reduce carbon emissions.”

A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit may not come before the end of President Obama’s term in January 2017, leaving in question the fate of his signature policy to curb climate change by reducing power plants' carbon emissions.


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