The Clean Power Plan represents America’s most significant action to addressing the growing threat of climate change. And while the need to act is clearer than ever, implementing the plan has proven to be a contentious fight.
Announced by the Obama administration in August 2015, the plan is the first national mandate to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. It’s expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Each state has their own emissions goal and can independently determine the best way to reach their target.
Yet, 27 states have teamed up with fossil fuel companies to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over the plan. The Supreme Court granted a stay in February, meaning the program is paused until the legal challenges are resolved.
The next step toward some resolution begins on September 27, when the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit court will hear oral arguments in the case.
SAMANTHA PAGE, ThinkProgress: There’s a fight going on behind your power outlet…
The Clean Power Plan is our best weapon to fight climate change, but court battles have stopped the plan in its tracks. Twenty-seven states and dozens of energy companies are suing to protect their fossil fuel industry.
But wait…what actually is the Clean Power Plan?
It’s a way to significantly cut carbon pollution by 2030 — the very pollution that’s warming our planet. To reach that goal, each state has its own achievable target and can decide the best way to get there.
It’s kind of a big deal.
Each year, the plan could prevent up to 90,000 asthma attacks, 1,700 heart attacks, 300,000 missed school and work days, and 3,600 premature deaths.
That’s because, for the last 40 years, electricity generation has been the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the country. Dramatically reducing those emissions could save Americans an estimated $38 billion a year.
Yet, here we are, stuck in the legal system.
In order to protect coal, the 27 states with some of the highest pollution rates in the country are doing their best to block this plan, even though more than 60 percent of voters in those states support it. But energy companies and politicians, with the fossil fuel money behind them, are still playing politics with the air we breathe.