Clean Power Plan Comes Under Fire

A majority of the American public – 69 percent – wants the United States to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recently said it would be “an act of injustice to all children” if we failed to act quickly on climate change.

But despite the call on our nation’s leaders to address climate change, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) have launched their most extreme attack yet to completely undo efforts to reduce life-threatening climate pollution.

The Congressional Review Act resolutions from Senator McConnell and Representative Whitfield would put an end to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) initiative to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, otherwise known as the Clean Power Plan. In a particularly egregious move, the resolutions would prevent EPA from proposing any similar standards in the future unless Congress expressly told it to do so.

This tactic is the opposite of what the public wants. Most Americans want to set strict carbon dioxide limits on coal-fired power plants. And by a 3-to-1 margin, voters believe that EPA – not Congress – should be deciding when and how to reduce pollution. The public trusts the scientists at EPA to protect public health and confront the dangers of climate change, and they do not want members of Congress obstructing the progress already achieved.

New York, through its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), is already acting to cut carbon dioxide pollution from the power sector at a rate that will exceed the reductions called for in the Clean Power Plan a full ten years ahead of the deadline. RGGI is being held up as a model on how to set limits on climate pollution while spurring economic growth. Governor Cuomo has committed New York to some of the most aggressive climate and clean energy goals in the country, setting the state on a path toward a fossil fuel free economy by the year 2050.

It is time for other states to catch up.

Given that New York is leading the way in the efforts against climate change, there is no reason for any member of the New York Congressional delegation to support these misguided attempts to kill the Clean Power Plan. Environmental Advocates and our partner organizations have called upon our elected representatives to vote NO on the resolutions from Senator McConnell and Representative Whitfield. Environmental Advocates applauds Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for exemplifying New York’s leadership on climate and voting against this anti-climate measure. Alas, the Senate approved Senator McConnell’s resolutions 52-46, largely on party lines.

House Republicans Chris Gibson (R-Kingston), Richard Hanna (R-Utica), Elise Stefanik (R-Watertown), and Tom Reed (R-Corning) have already signed a resolution acknowledging the need for climate action. Now is their chance to “walk the talk” and vote NO.

Author: Ashley Welsch