Recently the Supreme Court decided to stay enforcement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, pending a far-fetched legal challenge in the courts. However, this decision does not overturn the Clean Power Plan or say anything about its legal merits; it simply delays its implementation. While I am confident that the courts will ultimately uphold the Clean Power Plan, this disturbing development makes clear that people must demand that their elected officials act on climate because:
• The Supreme Court has already upheld the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act.
• Air pollution from fossil fuel power plants threatens our health by contributing to life-threatening illnesses, like childhood asthma, that cost us billions of dollars in health care costs and thousands of lives each year.
• Power plants account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution. Experts say the Clean Power Plan is the single biggest step the U.S. has ever taken to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change (and all the problems that come with it).
• The Clean Power Plan sets an overall goal of reducing carbon pollution from the U.S. power sector by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and it gives states flexibility in how they reach their carbon reduction goals.
• Smart industry, financial, and governmental leaders are moving forward with plans to incorporate strategies and implement public policies that take us toward a clean energy economy.
• The electricity sector has embarked on an unstoppable shift from the dirty fossil fuels of the 20th century to the clean technologies of the 21st. The stay cannot reverse that trend. Nor can it dampen the overwhelming public support for action on climate change and clean energy.
Together, we can demonstrate that people across the country are eager to address the most important issue of our time — and we won’t be silent until it happens.
Howard Mary Drive