Clean energy transition should continue, despite Supreme Court stay of federal rule

The Southeast is on an inevitable trajectory toward less carbon pollution and cleaner energy. (© Charles Shoffner)

The Supreme Court announced yesterday a temporary stay on the Clean Power Plan, the country's strongest action ever to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and pave the way for cleaner and more affordable energy choices.

In response, a White House statement said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will work with states that choose to continue developing their plans to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. States in the Southeast are already well on their way to meeting the goals laid out in the plan.

Frank Rambo, SELC Senior Attorney and Clean Energy and Air Program Leader, issued the following statement in response:

"The unfortunate decision by the Supreme Court hits pause on the country's strongest action to lower harmful carbon pollution, but it won’t stop the massive shift to cleaner, cheaper energy already underway in the Southeast and across the nation.

“The goals of the Clean Power Plan reflect this energy shift: we're embracing cleaner energy options that would be happening with or without this plan. We are doing this for public health and the many communities and children that suffer from pollution. We are doing this for the new hometown jobs created by solar and energy efficiency programs. We are doing this to minimize the sea level rise and powerful storms our communities will see more and more of if we do not address the carbon pollution driving climate change.

“The progress our states have made is significant and our region's job-generating shift to clean power is inevitable. That progress should and will continue even while the Clean Power Plan is under review."

The plan’s review is pending a decision in the D.C. Court of Appeals on an industry challenge to the rule supported by some states. Oral arguments in that case are expected June 2, meaning a decision from the Court of Appeals may come in late summer or fall.

In the Southeast, Virginia has come out in strong support of the EPA’s plan while Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina sided with those attempting to stall the plan. Tennessee—already very close to meeting emission targets laid out in the plan—opted not to join the suit.

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