Sept. 26, 2016
U.S. Court of Appeals to Hear Flawed Arguments Against Nation’s Landmark Clean Power Plan
Statement of David Arkush, Managing Director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program
Note: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear arguments Tuesday over the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule. In Aug. 2015, President Barack Obama introduced, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized, the Clean Power Plan – the first federal rule to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants nationwide and combat climate change. In February of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan pending judicial review.
Early media previews have billed litigation over the Clean Power Plan as key to President Obama’s “climate legacy.” But the legacy belongs to all of us. The question is whether we will muster the political will to curb climate change before we lose the chance to prevent catastrophic harm to our health, economy and way of life. Time is running out.
Opponents of the Clean Power Plan greatly rely on arguments that the rule will hurt consumers by raising electricity prices. They are wrong. In a series of studies, Public Citizen found that electricity bills will decline under the rule. Although the price of electricity likely will rise modestly, the rule will spur energy efficiency improvements so that people use less electricity and as a result pay lower bills. In our 50-state study of the final rule, we found that electricity bills will be lower in nearly every state by 2025 under the Clean Power Plan, and in all states by 2030.
There is much more at stake in climate change than the cost of electricity to consumers, but challengers to the Clean Power Plan have chosen to fight on that ground. Fortunately, they are absolutely wrong.