Public Health & Environmental Groups Cheer Court Decision on Clean Power Plan

, By John Adams

MADISON — Clean Wisconsin, along with other supporters of federal climate policies, applauded a decision by the District of Columbia federal appeals court today rejecting attempts by the fossil fuel industry and various coal-friendly states to block immediate implementation of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan sets the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing U.S. power plants. By reducing carbon emissions, other harmful air pollutants will be reduced as well, benefiting public health.

“Today’s decision means that there will be no delay in reducing the carbon pollution that is causing serious respiratory diseases, heart conditions and premature death, negative effects that are felt disproportionately by the most vulnerable members of our society,” says Keith Reopelle, senior policy director of Clean Wisconsin. “This is a huge victory for clean energy and public health in Wisconsin.”

A centerpiece of President Obama’s climate action plan, the Clean Power Plan builds on existing trends in the electric power sector that have allowed many states around the country to reduce emissions at a rapid rate over the last decade. Looking forward, it draws on the strength and ingenuity of American innovation to slash dangerous carbon pollution being dumped into the air, while driving investment in energy efficiency and clean energy.

“The Court’s order underscores the fact that the Clean Power Plan’s challengers have failed to identify any ‘irreparable harm,’ which would necessitate a delay in implementing the Administration’s rule,” says Katie Nekola, general counsel, Clean Wisconsin. “Power plants have 15 years to implement the Clean Power Plan and states are provided a broad array of compliance options.”

In addition to public health and environmental groups, a coalition of more than two dozen states and cities are helping defend EPA’s Clean Power Plan, along with nine power companies, including Calpine, NextEra, and National Grid US, and a coalition of clean energy trade associations.