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Clean Power Plan Updates

Court of Appeals Hearing on CPP

On September 27, the full (“en banc”) U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in the case that addresses the legality of EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), State of West Virginia v. EPA.

While it is widely believed that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately hear the case, the D.C. Circuit Court judgment will be viewed as a monumental victory by the side that gets a favorable ruling.

At present, the CPP is still governed by the Supreme Court “stay” (delay) in its implementation until litigation is complete. Ultimately, the CPP’s future will be determined by the next president, with anticipated involvement of a new Congress. For example, a new Congress could pass legislation to weaken or repeal the CPP, and it would be up to the president whether to sign or veto such a bill.

CEIP Comment Period Extended

In other CPP-related news, EPA has extended from September 26 to November 1 the time for providing written comments on the design of the plan’s Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP).

ECC has consulted closely with ACEEE, the University of California at Berkeley’s Don Vial Center for Employment in the Green Economy and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) in crafting comments. The Don Vial Center and NASEO helped inform ECC’s comments, which will be submitted by the November 1 deadline. (NASEO will submit its own comments.)

Of particular concern to ECC is whether CEIP will become a highly flexible and user-friendly program for states. “Additionally, ECC wants CEIP not only to be an energy-efficiency vehicle for low-income communities of color, but also a catalyst for creating jobs in clean-energy industries for these communities,” said ECC’s Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca.

Clean Power Toolkit Promotes CPP Benefits for Frontline Communities

Convened by Green for All, the Clean Power for All Collaborative – a group of economic justice, affordable housing and environmental organizations – has created the Clean Power for All Innovation Center to share ideas and suggest policy options for maximizing the CPP’s benefits for historically underserved communities. 

The collaborative has assembled a series of toolkits to help advocates and activists ensure that states address equity as the CPP is implemented. The online resources include policy options and case studies that reflect best practices for creating good-quality jobs and thriving communities. Toolkit topics include:

  • Investing in Frontline Communities
  • Community Engagement
  • Make Polluters Pay
  • Create Good Jobs
  • Just Transition
  • Exposing and Avoiding False Solutions

The toolkits emphasize that to comply with the CPP, state plans must focus on those most affected by air pollution and climate change and ensure that polluters limit their emissions. In a recent op-ed posted on Medium, the collaborative asserts that “carbon prices must reflect the full costs of carbon pollution for our communities and be paid by polluters, not low-income households.”

The toolkit’s best practices and policy options seek state policies that would achieve critical goals such as:

  • Increasing access to high-quality jobs in clean energy for job seekers from frontline communities; and
  • Providing investments for workers and the economic redevelopment of communities affected by the transition away from fossil fuels. 

Other Policy News

ECC Advocates for 100% Renewable Energy

Sen. Jeff Merkeley

As part of ECC’s support for a national advocacy campaign formed under the auspices of The Solutions Project promoting 100 percent clean energy from renewable sources by 2050, ECC is backing a bill sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). His 2015 Keep It in the Ground Act would move the country entirely away from fossil fuels while revitalizing communities and creating millions of jobs. Over the next several months, Merkley plans to introduce a set of bills reinforcing that one.

ECC has been a staunch supporter of the senator’s efforts to promote a clean energy economy since 2013, when ECC President and CEO Denise Fairchild joined Merkley in Portland’s Latino community of Cully to promote solar energy and the establishment of an eco-district.

“Sen. Merkley has been a vigilant supporter of renewable energy and a standard bearer to promote equity and inclusion to ensure that no community is left behind during the clean energy revolution,” commented ECC Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca.

ECC Says Academia Should Advance Equity & Inclusion

ECC Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca stressed the importance of conducting research in cooperation with community leaders at the 6th Annual Energy Policy Research Conference. The September 8-9 forum in Santa Fe, N.M., was held by the Energy Policy Institute and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies 

“Too often,” Floresca commented, “academic research is conducted ‘from the outside looking in, without the perspectives of local front-line leaders.’ In essence, they are non-traditional scholars who can add great value to standard research.”

Floresca brought ECC’s equity and inclusion perspective to the discussion during several conference sessions, including:

  • Can Electricity Markets be Designed by Democracy?
  • Distributed Resources and Distributed Governance: An Investigation into States’ Use of Collaboratives for Clean Energy Regulation
  • Optimal Resource Planning under the Clean Power Plan

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