Carper, Coons, Carney Sign Amicus Brief Supporting President Obama’s Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney (all D-Del.) joined 208 current and former Members of Congress in filing an amicus brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The Court is considering a challenge to the rule in West Virginia et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency. The filed amicus brief argues that the Clean Power Plan rule is consistent with the text, structure, and legislative history of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Further, it argues that the rule is consistent with the goal of the CAA to “protect the Nation’s air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population.” The full text of the amicus brief can be found here.

Delaware has already proven that the U.S. can facilitate economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Power Plan will provide a much-needed national standard for power plant pollution that works for both the environment and the economy. The State of Delaware and 17 other states as well as mayors, utility companies, environmental groups, climate scientists, and former U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense also supported adjoining amicus briefs.

Since 2009, Delaware has participated in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) with other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon pollution while investing in clean energy, adding billions to the regional economy. RGGI should serve as a model for other states as they seek to comply with the Clean Power Plan. This historic effort to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change is particularly important to Delaware, which has the lowest mean elevation of any state in the nation, making it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels resulting from a warming global climate.

“The legal precedent for the Clean Power Plan is clear, and attempts to challenge its legality are essentially an attempt to delay implementation of the plan,” Senator Carper said. “Reducing carbon pollution from local power plants is a critical element in any meaningful national strategy to mitigate the effects of our changing climate – the longer we wait, the more severe and irremediable the effects of climate change will become. We should not continue to delay and avoid the work that must be done. I’m hopeful that the courts will protect the Clean Power Plan as it works its way through the judicial process, and I remain committed to working with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to support its important goals.”

“Climate change is a fundamental challenge of the 21st century that impacts us all, threatening human health and the environment,” said Senator Coons. “President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a critical step forward in combatting this challenge because it works with states, utilities, and other interested parties to cut harmful carbon pollution from the power sector and accelerate the shift towards clean energy and energy efficiency. The challenge to this plan currently is to consider the EPA’s ability to take action under the provisions of the Clean Air Act, and I urge the Court to make the right decision and uphold the Clean Power Plan. I am proud that the State of Delaware and local communities have also demonstrated their resolve to face this challenge, including through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  We can’t afford to miss the opportunity to push our country toward a clean energy economy. This is about sending the message to our country’s best thinkers, innovators, and businesses as well as to other nations that we must move in this direction together on clean energy and climate action.”

“Supporting the Clean Power Plan’s efforts to address air pollution is crucial,” said Congressman Carney. “As a down-wind state, Delaware is impacted by the actions of the many states around us. To address climate change in our country, we must be committed to reducing pollution everywhere.  That is why I have strongly supported the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions. I am optimistic the courts will duly consider this authority, and I continue to urge approval of this plan.”