News | September 26, 2016

Clean Power Plan has its day in court

Tomorrow the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral argument on the Clean Power Plan, a landmark action to reduce harmful carbon pollution and speed the country’s transition to cleaner, more affordable energy choices.

Despite strong public support for the plan, it has been on hold since the Supreme Court announced a temporary stay in February following an industry challenge supported by a number of states.  Tomorrow, the full D.C. Circuit will sit in a rare “en banc” hearing to speed along the rule’s review before it is expected to reach the Supreme Court for an ultimate decision.

In addition to significant public health and climate benefits, the rule provides a milestone opportunity for the Southeast to accelerate clean energy transitions already happening to create more new jobs.

“The move to cleaner, cheaper energy in the Southeast is already underway and it will continue with or without this plan,” said Frank Rambo, SELC Senior Attorney and Clean Energy and Air Program Leader. “But the Clean Power Plan offers new market opportunities to keep costs low while protecting the most vulnerable citizens among us, who in the past have borne the brunt of dirty energy production.”

While Virginia has come out in strong support of the plan, other states in the Southeast—Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—have chosen to oppose the Clean Power Plan. Given that most Southeastern states are poised to easily meet the Plan’s pollution reduction targets, their opposition rests more on ideological grounds than practical ones, and reflects a denial of the overwhelming science and proof of climate change.

In fact some opposing states, such as South Carolina, are challenging a rule that promises an economic boost. A recent study by a Duke University institute shows that under any number of approaches to CPP compliance, South Carolina is poised to have a surplus of pollution credits or allowances, which could be sold, bringing millions of dollars into the state. Similarly, research undertaken at Georgia Tech demonstrates that relying on energy efficiency and solar power to achieve CPP compliance would help lower electricity bills compared to a business-as-usual future without the Clean Power Plan.

“It’s shameful to see taxpayer dollars wasted to challenge a plan that would bring real dollars to Southern States that are investing in clean energy. It makes no business sense at all,” said Rambo.