Markup Statement: Business Meeting on the ARENA Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and ranking member of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding the committee’s business meeting to consider the ARENA Act, which would roll back President Obama’s recently-finalized Clean Power Plan.

“I was born in Beckley, West Virginia, and I’ve spent most of my adult life in Delaware. As a native of a small town supported by coal mining, and now as a Senator representing the lowest-lying state in the nation, I have a unique perspective on the balance that we must strike to make climate regulations work for each state. I understand the contours of the debate over efforts to curb the harmful effects of a warming planet, and the concerns of many of my colleagues who see the potential for unintended negative consequences of federal action on the issue.

“That said, I believe the greatest negative consequence we face is what will happen if we do nothing. The science is clear – human behavior contributes significantly to our changing climate, and the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the highest they’ve been in hundreds of thousands of years. We cannot continue talking about climate change as though it’s something that’s going to happen. It’s already happening and we’ve put ourselves in the position of having to play catch up.

“Yesterday, President Obama rolled out several regulations to address our largest source of carbon pollution – fossil fuel power plants. I applaud his action on this absolutely critical issue. The rules went through a very pragmatic, thorough process, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made significant changes in the final versions to reflect input from environmental activists to industry leaders, and everyone in between.

“Now, it is up to the states to put their programs together to best implement these rules. Instead of stripping these regulations from the books, which is what my good friend, Senator Capito’s, bill would do, we should be working with states to find the best solutions.

“The United States has a great opportunity to finally address an issue that could impact generations to come. It is my sincere hope that we seize this opportunity.”