By Pete Altman, Natural Resources Defense Council
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate leadership, has been welcomed by an outpouring of support from a broad and diverse range of voices all across the country. We are thrilled to see so much support emerging so quickly for the first-ever limits on dangerous carbon pollution from power plants, including from nearly one hundred elected officials. I have selected a few examples of the membership and constituency voices to highlight here. We’ll cover the breadth of elected official support in a separate blog.
Let’s start with public health groups, since the EPA’s basis for setting carbon limits is rooted in its mission to protect our health. Here’s what the American Lung Association said:
Today, President Obama honored his commitment to act on climate change, a public health emergency. The Clean Power Plan is a tremendous step forward in the United States’ fight against carbon pollution and climate change that will also bring immediate health benefits to the American people. EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan will prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks in 2030, as well as prevent 300,000 missed days of work and school.
The National Medical Association, the national association of African American physicians, issued this statement:
Quite simply, the final Clean Power Plan standards will help us protect our patients’ health and the health of all Americans,” said NMA President Lawrence Sanders, Jr., MD, an Atlanta internist and the 115th president of the NMA. “Many of our patients are disproportionately affected by the dangers associated with carbon pollution and the other kinds of pollution that pour out of power-plant smokestack across the country. These new, final standards are an important step in addressing both.
I, along with the National Hispanic Medical Association’s 50,000 member doctors and allied health professionals, strongly support the EPA’s final rule limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants. Pollution from these power plants–both carbon pollution and other toxic power-plant emissions–sickens people raising the risk of illnesses like asthma, allergies, lung cancer and heart disease.
Additional health groups supporting the Clean Power Plan include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Allergy & Asthma Network, the American Thoracic Society and the Trust for America’s Health.
Communities and leaders of color:
Minority and low-income communities are frequently recognized as among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Organizations and leaders representing those voices made their support clear:
Adrianna Quintero, Director of Voces Verdes, said:
The Clean Power Plan is a critical step towards fighting climate change and the threat it poses for our lives and the lives of our children. I look at my two children and I know that I owe it to them and to their children to force polluters to clean up their act and stop dumping carbon and toxic pollution into our air and transition to a clean energy economy so that they may inherit the future we dream of for them.
The National Action Network, one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations, said
Climate change is not a future generation’s problem. It affects our communities and our health each and every day and we need to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to mitigate global climate change and pollution borne health issues.
The NAACP expressed strong support as well:
As we enter the third day of America’s Journey for Justice, I applaud President Obama’s introduction of the Clean Power Plan. Just as we march to preserve our right to vote and to ensure that our children have access to good schools and a quality education, we also march to preserve our rights to clean air, clean water and to communities less impacted by climate change.
And the Hip Hop Caucus weighed in:
The Hip Hop Caucus supports the clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan proposed rule is a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants. States, cities and businesses across the country are already taking action to address the risk of climate change.
The Evangelical Environmental Network posted a letter from 174 faith leaders stating:
We see overcoming the climate challenge as one of the great moral opportunities of our time, a chance to fulfill the Great Commandments to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves. It is God’s love that calls all of us to take on this challenge. That is why we write to offer our support and encouragement for your efforts to overcome the climate challenge.
Interfaith Power and Light proclaimed:
Pope Francis has stated that the gravity of the ecological crisis requires we all protect the common good, and reducing carbon pollution from power plants will safeguard common goods like air, water, land and community health for generations to come. Faith communities have been gathering comments and testifying in favor of this plan for years, because it’s a matter of climate justice and a historic step towards protecting all of God’s creation.
In creating the first ever national standard for power plants, the rule will ensure that power plants reduce carbon pollution, soot, and other air pollutants that effect our health and contribute significantly to climate change. We believe that it is our responsibility to act as environmental stewards and partners with God in tilling and tending the earth, as humankind was commanded in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15).
Consumers Union stated:
The Clean Power Plan has a very reasonable schedule for states to implement these improvements, and the plan offers states the flexibility and control they need to reach the goals of cutting emissions in the most cost-effective ways.
Public Citizen said:
The Clean Power Plan is an historic and critical step in combating climate change. Our analysis of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal found that it is overwhelmingly beneficial to consumers. It will lower electricity bills by spurring energy efficiency measures, which will allow consumers to use less power while paying less. The rule also will mitigate climate change, which will be devastating to U.S. consumers – particularly those with low or fixed incomes – if left unchecked.
A joint statement from National People’s Action, Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change and the Climate Justice Alliance stated:
We support the President and the EPA in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and co-pollutants from power plants. We are encouraged to see that the final plan specifically requires an environmental justice analysis and engagement with EJ groups.
WE ACT stated:
We applaud President Obama and the EPA for putting forth this ambitious plan to address climate change. For the past year, EJ leaders across this country have been working hard to raise and voice our concerns about how equity must be a central theme in the final rule. We believe that the both the White House and the EPA have listened, and are taking a step in the right direction to get us cleaner air, cleaner energy and cleaner communities. This is a historic day and it is our hope that all states get on board.
Strong support is also emerging from diverse businesses and business groups as well: Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors and others who advocate for policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment, said:
This is the most significant environmental policy we’ve seen in recent years, and also a huge catalyst for economic growth…”States now have a blueprint for building their clean energy economy. It’s up to governors to put this plan into action if they want to create jobs and drive economic growth – and help their state’s environment as well.
E2 was joined by many other business groups, including Advanced Energy Economy, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Ceres, the National Advisory Council of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, and the Small Business Majority.
Small Business Majority CEO John Arensmeyer told The Hill on Monday why small businesss support climate action:
Fifty-seven percent of small businesses believe climate change and extreme weather events are an urgent problem, and one in five said they have had to lay off employees due to extreme weather.
The wind industry is keen on the CPP, according to this statement from the American Wind Energy Association:
American wind power can do this … Low-cost wind energy reduced carbon emissions by five percent in 2014, and we’re capable of doing a lot more. We can build a more diverse, reliable, cleaner energy mix for America, while creating jobs and keeping money in consumers’ pockets.
And so is the solar industry. As the Solar Energy Industries Association stated:
Calling President Obama’s signature climate change policy both ‘historic’ and ‘critically needed,’ the solar industry issued its strong support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, scheduled to be released on Monday, urging states to consider solar as a clean, affordable, reliable and carbon-free solution.
Power Companies: Even some of the nation’s biggest power companies had positive things to say about the CPP, including New Jersey’s PSEG. NJ.com wrote:
Ralph Izzo, president, chairman and CEO of PSEG, the state’s largest electric utility, said the company is still analyzing the plan, but that PSEG supports it.
We are pleased with the recognition that energy efficiency is an important tool to reducing greenhouse gases,” he said in a statement. “We understand states may be incentivized to promote energy efficiency for low-income customers as an early tool to reduce greenhouse gases. We believe utilities can play a critical role in making sure that all energy users — especially low and moderate income customers who need it most — have access to energy efficiency.
Virginia’s Dominion Power was also positive. Its CEO was quoted saying
Dominion will work constructively with Gov. (Terry) McAuliffe, the state agencies and other stakeholders on a compliance plan that has our customers as the first priority, ensures reliability and maintains a diverse mix of electric generation.
The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, said:
The Clean Power Plan is an important step in reducing carbon emissions and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Now begins the critical work of developing state-based plans that can create and secure quality family-sustaining jobs, provide opportunities for disproportionately impacted communities, and encourage investment and economic growth. The BlueGreen Alliance is committed across our partnership and in the states to ensuring compliance with the plan to create opportunities for high-wage job growth, such as through investment in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
Service Employees International Union President MaryKay Henry said
President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will improve our economy through the creation of jobs for hard-working Americans in a new energy economy — while improving the health of our families and their communities.
Mike Breen, the Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project, said
We applaud the EPA for taking this step to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. This new rule builds upon steps already taken by our military to address the threat of climate change and puts the United States on the right trajectory to be a global leader in slashing emissions that fuel climate change. This is a positive step towards addressing the serious threat climate change poses to our national security.
Moms Clean Air Force stated:
Over half a million parents, members of Moms Clean Air Force, urge each and every one of our governors to speedily work toward implementation plans for this historic standard. Carbon pollution threatens our children, our communities, and our way of life. It must be curbed, and the authors and supporters of the American Clean Power Plan deserve our gratitude.
Climate Parents stated:
We are calling on every state to implement the Clean Power Plan in a way that prioritizes energy efficiency and renewables. State leaders and Presidential candidates who balk at implementing the Clean Power Plan are doing nothing less than abdicating their moral duty to protect the health and safety of the people they represent or seek to represent.
Ski Industry Groups:
The winter sports community applauds these historic standards. We appreciate the Administration’s bold leadership in placing meaningful reduction standards on the largest source of carbon emissions…We know that these standards are good for our businesses and the future of our sports. It’s time now to embrace innovation and clean energy, and we thank The White House and the EPA for taking the first major step towards making that happen.
The White House has also posted a number of statements of support here.