Virginia joining states defending the Clean Power Plan

Norfolk, pictured above, is part of a vast swath of Virginia's coast threatened by sea-level rise that will benefit from implementation of the Clean Power Plan. (© iStock)

Today, Attorney General Mark Herring announced Virginia will be joining a coalition of 18 states supporting the new federal Clean Power Plan as it faces legal attacks.

Released this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan provides a framework for reducing carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. The pollution reductions will benefit the public health and environmental well being of the state, while also combatting power plant emissions linked to climate change and rising sea levels. SELC has worked closely with elected representatives, agency officials, and other stakeholders as the plan evolved through various iterations and drafts.  

“We are pleased that the Commonwealth of Virginia is joining the lawsuit with a growing coalition of states to defend the Clean Power Plan,” said Staff Attorney Will Cleveland. “Virginia can and should leverage the plan to expand opportunities for clean energy, which will create local jobs, lower utility bills, and improve the health of our communities.”   

When the plan was finalized in August, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also shared his support for the plan, which creates the opportunity for Virginia to take a lead in advancing alternative energy sources while securing a cleaner, healthier future for generations to come.

Under the Clean Power Plan, the country will reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 32% by 2030. Within that framework, each state has an individual target and the plan was crafted to provide flexibility for how each state meets that goal. Preliminary calculations show Virginia is already more than 75 percent of the way to reaching its target.

The other 17 states intervening in the case are New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. They will be facing about two dozen other states—including Alabama Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina in SELC’s region—who have intervened on the other side of this case and are attempting to use legal maneuvering to undermine the rule.

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