Obama's Climate Change Plan Considered by Appeals Court
States Say EPA Could Hurt Their Economies
A federal appeals court in Washington recently heard arguments about whether to uphold President Obama’s plan to combat global warming by cutting power plant emissions and encouraging clean energy.
During a day-long hearing, industry groups and state attorneys general tried to explain to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit why Obama’s Clean Power Plan would be disastrous for the economy.
They accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of overstepping its authority.
West Virginia Solicitor General Elbert Lin told the judges that the EPA's plan is not about improving the performance of existing power plants. It's about shutting them down.
West Virginia gets about 96 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.
The EPA, environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and climate scientists strongly support the plan.
It would require states to cut carbon dioxide emissions by one-third by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. The states’ only viable alternatives are solar, wind and nuclear energy power, all of which are more expensive than the coal-fired power plants that emit carbon dioxide.
Other parts of Obama’s plan would impose tougher emission standards on automobiles and airplanes. Polluting industries would be required to reduce mercury and methane emissions.
Justice Department lawyer Eric Hosteler said the EPA's regulations cost-effectively address the key environmental challenge of our time.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement the plan is rooted in sound science, implements authorities expressly codified in our laws and is broadly supported by the American people.
However, a brief filed by a coalition of power companies said that rRegardless of the importance of the global issue EPA seeks to address, it may not usurp lawmaking authority that belongs to Congress or judicial power that belongs to the courts.
The power companies were joined by 27 state attorneys general in the case of West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.