Small Business Groups Praise Obama’s Climate Stance, Call For Regulation Of Existing Power Plants

A coalition of groups representing over 150,000 American businesses and $9.5 trillion in collective assets signed a letter yesterday praising President Obama for his strong stance on climate policy in the State of the Union address.

In the letter, the business organizations Environmental Entrepreneurs, the American Sustainable Business Council, Ceres, and Green America Coming Together endorsed Obama’s new energy efficient and renewable power targets, as well as his commitment to “reduce carbon pollution, absent Congressional action, through existing federal authorities.” They also advocated for the executive branch to regulate carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants under the auspices of the Clean Air Act:

We understand the importance of certainty and clear market signals and believe national standards to reduce carbon pollution from new and existing power plants will clarify risks and opportunities for U.S. businesses, while also leading to technological innovation and investment in the domestic clean energy market… Ultimately, investing in cleaner technologies and more efficient resources can be a pathway to profit and prosperity, boosting economic growth and creating jobs while also providing competitive returns to investors.

We believe that the Clean Air Act currently presents the best option for reducing carbon pollution from power plants. We hope this Administration will quickly finalize the proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants and, as required by the Clean Air Act, move forward to propose a carbon reduction program for existing power plants.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority and the obligation under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions should it determine they’re a danger to public health and the environment. The EPA reached that conclusion in 2009, and is already close to finalizing rules to regulate carbon pollution from new power plants. What’s lacking are rules for already existing power plants, but there are signs of movement in that direction.

In the State of the Union, Obama called for the United States to double the amount of renewable electricity it produces by 2020, and to double its energy efficiency by 2030. He also urged Congress to pass a market-style solution to climate change, such as the cap-and-trade bill put together by former Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) several years ago.

Obama did not explicitly call for extending the EPA’s reach to existing power plants in the speech, but he did bluntly state, “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”

I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

The letter from the business groups comes on the heels of another letter from the Small Business Majority expressing similar support: “Our polling found 87 percent of small business owners believe improving innovation and energy efficiency are highly effective ways to increase prosperity for small businesses.”

5 Responses to Small Business Groups Praise Obama’s Climate Stance, Call For Regulation Of Existing Power Plants

  1. Jan says:

    Amazing how so many are forgetting he also stated in that speech that his administration would fast track oil and gas permits (and the gas flaring from the Bakken Shale can be seen from space,and that people are also now protesting against Utah Tarsands and the Southern leg of the Keystone XL he already approved) so we need to see a WW2 effort on renewables now in much greater ratio than oil and gas as well as no more stalling on international agreements as his people have done at COP Conferences for the entire time he has been president for all the talk about “listening to scientists.” Let’s see the decision on the Keystone Xl first then before people go gaga over this. As it is he had to be pushed to do this when four years have already been wasted as climate change has accelerated to the point we are already seeing feedbacks in the system. Is this about him or this planet?

  2. Jay Alt says:

    I urge travelers & vacationers going thru Kansas to stop only to buy gas, if that. Drive through, sleep elsewhere.
    Tell the greeters at rest areas why you’re avoiding stopping, site seeing or spending money in their state. If they don’t have any greeters on duty, leave them a short note. Send a copy to the chamber of commerce of the nearest affected city.

  3. Daniel Coffey says:

    If a southern link has already been approved, its really not going to change things that much to approve the northern portion, since the object is to link Canada with port access and refinery capacity in the South. It might be that the fight is like so many, against the enemy of the last war, not the current one.

    I personally think that delaying the alternatives from deploying at large scale is the best strategy the oil/coal folks have, and that is being done by local environmental groups.

    Interesting how distraction works. Oil and coal interests are pretty good at distracting and slowing what would displace or replace the products they produce.

  4. Daniel Coffey says:

    The irony – only stop to buy gasoline…. Hmmm.

    Since that is what the Keystone Pipeline is really about, it seems remarkable that the one thing that is at issue would be the one thing that is purchased. How about all the innocent outdoors businesses and hoteliers? Why are they punished in your model of protest?

  5. J4zonian says:

    “Obama called for the United States to double the amount of renewable electricity it produces by 2020”

    Given that both wind and solar have had many years recently in which they grew at 30%, my only question is how the administration plans to slow down deployment enough to reach the goal of only doubling renewables in 7 years.

    Well, OK it’s not really my only question.