Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, released the following statement regarding the subcommittee’s hearing on “Legal Implications of the Clean Power Plan.”

“I was born in Beckley, West Virginia and have 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 environmental regulations work for each state. For those of us from states that are already being impacted by climate change, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to regulate our nation’s largest sources of carbon pollution is essential. Many states, such as Maryland and my home state of Delaware, have already taken action to reduce local power plant emissions. However, we need all states to do their fair share to protect the air we breathe and stem the tide of climate change. And in order for these standards to be effective, EPA must ensure that all 50 states are capable of complying with these standards.

“To date, the EPA has conducted an unprecedented level of outreach to state and local governments, utilities, and businesses in order to craft a compliance plan that works for each state. Under the Clean Power Plan, states can create their own plan for meeting their targets in a number of ways, including by increasing renewable energy such as wind and solar, and increasing the efficiency of their electrical grid. Unfortunately, since the day the EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan, it has been criticized as being outside the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act and the U.S. Constitution. I believe these claims are without basis in fact.

“In 2006, 10 states actually sued the EPA to force it to regulate carbon pollution from power plants. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled three times in support of EPA’s legal authority to control carbon pollution under existing law. In 2007, the Supreme Court confirmed in Massachusetts v. EPA that, as passed by Congress, the Clean Air Act gave the EPA the authority to regulate carbon pollution.

“The legal precedent for the Clean Power Plan is clear. Attempts by Congress and other parties to challenge its legality are essentially an attempt to delay implementation of the plan. As we have seen in the past, litigation over carbon pollution regulations has the potential to be stuck in the courts for several years. The longer we wait to reduce our carbon output, the more severe, and perhaps irreversible, the effects of climate change will become. Meanwhile, public health and our economy will continue to be endangered by more frequent storms, intense droughts, and sea-level rise.

“I am committed to making sure Congress does all it can to support the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today about our progress in doing so. Thank you.”