Statement on the Clean Power Plan

Aug 3, 2015 Issues: Climate Change, Energy, Environment

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releases the final version of the Clean Power Plan, which will place the first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. SEEC Members released the following statement: 

“Extreme weather events such as longer droughts, more intense wildfires, sea-level rise, flooding, and super storms, clearly demonstrate what climate change looks like in communities across the country. Climate change poses a real and growing threat to our children, our families, our national security, and our economy. We have a moral obligation to act on climate, and we cannot afford to wait any longer to further reduce carbon pollution.

"The Clean Power Plan lays the foundation for America’s energy future. We have an opportunity and the ability to make our economy and our communities stronger by investing in proven clean energy technologies to improve efficiency and reliability. As members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, we are leading the fight in Congress against the dirty energy status quo. We applaud the President and the EPA for their leadership on the Clean Power Plan, and we will continue to work with the Administration and our community partners in supporting and defending this initiative for the benefit of American families and our planet.”

Additional Statements from SEEC Members:

SEEC Co-Chair Doris Matsui (CA-06): “I applaud the release of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.  California has already taken aggressive action to reduce emissions and the EPA’s plan will put our country at the forefront of global efforts to combat climate change,” said Congresswoman Matsui.  “I am also pleased that the plan incentivizes investment in clean energy.  Sacramento continues to lead the nation in clean energy innovation and energy efficiency.

“Californians have seen firsthand the severe impact of climate change.  As cycles of extended drought and extreme weather events become more frequent, we must act to protect the health of our communities and economy."

SEEC Co-Chair Gerry Connolly (VA-11): “Climate change poses a real and growing threat to our children, our families, our national security, and our economy. We cannot afford to wait to act on climate change.

“The Clean Power Plan lays the foundation for America’s energy future. We have an opportunity and the ability to make our economy and our communities stronger by investing in proven clean energy technologies to improve efficiency and reliability.

“This balanced approach will reduce power-sector carbon pollution 32 percent from 2005 levels in 2030, and provides states greater flexibility and renewable energy incentives to meet these attainable goals. This plan will save the average American family about $85 annually on their energy bill by 2030, and have important public health benefits, including an 88% decline in premature death.

“I applaud the President and the EPA for their leadership on the Clean Power Plan, and look forward to working with state and local partners in supporting and implementing this important effort.”

SEEC Co-Chair Paul Tonko (NY-20): “I applaud the President for this historic movement to strengthen public health, invest in clean and renewable energy, and present a tremendous opportunity for businesses to innovate and further develop our green-collar economy. This is a big win for every state, most of all New York, which has been a national leader in this arena for more than a decade through RGGI. New Yorkers know firsthand what others will soon see – that this Clean Power Plan will bring improvements to our health, the economy, and our nation as a whole.”

SEEC Vice-Chair Chellie Pingree (ME-01): “I applaud President Obama for taking bold action to address climate change.  Maine communities are already dealing with the effects of climate change and carbon emissions, including rising sea levels, more extreme weather, and ocean acidification. By reducing these emissions at their greatest source—power plants—we can not only head off future impacts and protect public health, but drive toward utilizing clean energy sources.  With sources like offshore wind and tidal power already being developed in Maine, it would be a huge opportunity for the state’s economy and workforce.”   

SEEC Vice-Chair Matt Cartwright (PA-17): “The Clean Power Plan sets a clear path towards America’s energy future, a plan that will protect public health, invest in clean, renewable energy development, boost energy efficiency measures, and lower electric bills in the long run.

“The plan strengthens our economy and communities in large part through an emphasis on energy efficiency.  This year I have introduced three pieces of legislation which address energy efficiency within our schools, non-profit organizations, and manufacturing.  I remain committed to promoting energy efficiency and will continue to fight in support of this initiative.”

SEEC Vice-Chair Alan Lowenthal (CA-47): “Today marks a historic moment in our fight to slow down climate change and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The White House expects the EPA’s ‪Clean Power Plan to create tens of thousands of jobs and eliminate thousands of asthma-related hospital visits each year, while securing grid reliability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 32% by 2030. Today’s action symbolizes a bold step in our mission to ‪Act On Climate.”

SEEC Climate Task Force Chair Scott Peters (CA-52): “The United States must lead the world in fighting for a cleaner energy future. Reducing emissions from power plants – by far the largest emitters of harmful pollutants in our country – is a significant action. I want to thank President Obama and EPA Secretary Gina McCarthy for their steadfast leadership both on this plan and a host of other changes to help fight the root causes of climate change.

“California is already leading the way in aggressive targets for climate action and reduced emissions, which is leading to improved air quality and human health benefits across our state. The EPA’s rule today not only rewards states for being ahead of the curve, but provides flexible pathways for other states to move toward a more sustainable energy portfolio. By working with states, localities, and energy utility companies, the EPA is encouraging investments in innovation through higher national standards and a long-term vision for sustainable energy production that doesn’t raise utility rates for consumers.

“Continued work to reduce emissions in other sectors is essential as we work to fight climate change and mitigate potential damage – including drought, wildfires, extreme weather, and sea level rise – but today’s rule is a positive step forward in our international leadership, particularly as we look toward the global climate talks in Paris later this year.”

SEEC Energy Task Force Chair Jim Langevin (RI-02): “In Rhode Island and nationwide, we have seen the disastrous effects of climate change on infrastructure, on our economy and on public health. A national standard to limit carbon pollution is long overdue, and this plan is a major step forward in putting our country on a path to a cleaner, healthier future."

SEEC Environment Task Force Chair Judy Chu (CA-27): “I applaud the President for using his authority under the Clean Air Act to take such serious actions to curb our carbon emissions. The effects of climate change are being felt across the country, ranging from an increase in extreme weather and to an increase in the number of Americans diagnosed with asthma than ever before. By embracing innovations in clean energy and setting restrictions to limit carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan will not only slow the rate of climate change, but will also contribute to our economy and improve our health. Of course, preventing the dangers of climate change requires a global effort. As world powers prepare to meet in Paris for the United Nations led talks on cutting emissions, this plan shows our country’s commitment and leadership.”

SEEC Member Niki Tsongas (MA-03): “Climate change is no longer an academic question for scientists to ponder. It is a very real crisis that, if left untouched, will cause irreparable harm to current and future generations. I applaud President Obama for his leadership in putting forward this historic proposal to protect public health and future generations from the impacts of climate change.

“America must be at the forefront and lead by example. We must embrace modern policies that aim to, among other things, cut carbon emissions, increase the use and effectiveness of sustainable energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, and encourage the development of innovative green technology. If we do, the economic, security and environmental benefits will be widespread, long-lasting and significant.

“Addressing climate change is not a political issue; it is a critical generational responsibility that will take a sustained commitment from Washington, from foreign governments and world leaders and from each of us here at home.”

SEEC Member Ted Lieu (CA-33): “I am proud of my country and my president today as we embark on our most aggressive action thus far to fight climate change.  The Clean Power Plan is a major step forward, and America is showing once again that we can lead the world by powerfully curbing emissions, protecting public health and the environment, and defending national security interests.   

“One of the main reasons I ran for Congress is to combat climate change.  And now, for the first time in our nation’s history, carbon pollution is finally regulated. 

“On this historic day, I look forward to working with President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that the plan is strongly implemented.”

SEEC Member Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03): “A team of dead-ender Republicans have made a career of playing dumb on climate change and can’t stop now. Everyone else understands how important this is. I agree with the people I represent that we shouldn’t sell our children’s future for a few more years of oil and coal profits, and I applaud the president for taking that public demand seriously. I especially thank him for facing down an obstructionist Republican majority that history will look back on with anger and disappointment.”

SEEC Member Mike Quigley (IL-05): “Today, with the release of the final EPA Clean Power Plan, our country has taken a historic step to address the biggest environmental and public health challenge of our time. The Clean Power Plan is placing the first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, which will dramatically curtail greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels. The rule sets ambitious carbon emissions reductions standards for each state, while giving them flexibility to meet their goals as well as an incentives program to provide federal funds to help them develop more clean energy. I applaud the President for his leadership on this issue and am grateful he has taken action in an area where Congress has refused to act. Thanks to the President and his Administration, we now have a plan that will accelerate our clean energy economy and create greater environmental and health protections for our children and future generations.”

SEEC Member John Sarbanes (MD-03): “Day in and day out, local communities across America are feeling the impacts of climate change. The City of Annapolis expects nearly 50 flooding events every year, up from an average of 4 annual flooding events just 50 years prior. And according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the city should expect flooding events to occur every single day of the year by 2045.

“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, but for too long, a political cloud of denial has blocked meaningful efforts to take action. Before it’s too late, the political consensus must catch up with the scientific consensus. That’s why I strongly support the president’s Clean Power Plan – a monumental and serious step toward a more healthy and sustainable future.”

SEEC Member Donna Edwards (MD-04): “The Clean Power Plan is the most ambitious step the United States has ever taken in the global effort to tackle the threat of climate change,” Edwards said. “It sets landmark clean air standards and gives states the opportunity to craft individual plans customized to their needs. Climate change is a matter not just of national significance, but global significance as well. With 2015 on track to be the hottest year on record for planet Earth, we owe it to our economy, our environment, and the health of future generations to tackle this growing danger.

“The Administration's Clean Power Plan outlines how all fifty states can work together to combat the danger posed by the effects of climate change. I urge state leaders nationwide to seize this opportunity to create innovative new jobs and protect public health. Maryland, as well as other states participating in carbon reduction programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), has already reduced household energy bills, bolstered state energy independence, and created new jobs in expanding industries. It's time for us to act as a nation. The Clean Power Plan is a tremendous step to boost American innovation and move us toward a clean energy future."

SEEC Member Earl Blumenauer (OR-03): “Finalizing the Clean Power Plan is a key moment for our country. It is the most important action we have taken to date to combat climate change, and I commend the Obama Administration for setting a bold, but achievable goal for states in curbing their emissions from power plants.

“If you accept modern science, you cannot deny that human carbon emissions are contributing to climate change. If you fight wildfires, farm, run a ski resort, or live in a low-lying coastal area, you are already living with the impacts of this climate change on a daily basis.

“As a major contributor to these changes, the United States has an obligation to set an example and act now to prevent the worst impacts to the vulnerable populations who will suffer the most and contributed the least to climate change. We must act for the fellow creatures that share our planet and for future generations.

“The Clean Power Plan is a monumental step toward this goal. While it is only a first step, I commend this progress and look forward to working with the Administration and with my colleagues in Congress to support and strengthen this rule nationally, and with Oregonians to ensure we meet and exceed these goals here at home.”

SEEC Member Chris Van Hollen (MD-08): “Today’s final Clean Power Plan is a historic milestone in the urgent battle to combat climate change. It will limit dangerous carbon pollution from power plants for the first time ever and provide an economic opportunity for every state to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Maryland has been a leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and now we have a national blueprint to better protect public health while creating good-paying jobs in new energy technologies.

“With 2014 recently eclipsing 2010 as the hottest year on record, continuing a dangerous trend that threatens Maryland communities and the Chesapeake Bay, we have an obligation to act now to curb the most damaging impacts of climate change and leave a better world for future generations. I applaud President Obama for this important step and call on my colleagues in Congress to pass meaningful legislation to continue this effort, like my Healthy Climate and Family Security Act."‎

SEEC Member Don Beyer (VA-08): “Climate change is the existential crisis of our time. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will combat this threat to our health, safety, and security of the generations who will inherit our environmental legacy. Millions of American families depend on us to take the necessary steps to clean up our air and water. The Clean Power Plan is a smart and effective first step to limit carbon emissions from power plants, drive our transition to a zero-carbon renewable energy future, and make aggressive investments in clean energy technologies.”

SEEC Member John Delaney (MD-06): “Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time, threatening our health, our economy and our national security and it is time to act. I applaud the White House for taking the first steps towards limiting carbon emissions. But climate change is a big problem that goes beyond just power plants and will require a bigger solution, which is why I’ve always supported a carbon tax, an approach that can harness market forces to encourage innovation and help working families and those directly impacted by new technologies. I am also pleased that states will have the option to implement a state-based carbon tax, a change I called for last year. As the Pope made clear, we have a moral obligation to leave a healthy planet to future generations and I will continue to work to build support for my Tax Pollution, Not Profits Act in Congress.”

SEEC Member Lois Capps (CA-24): “The Clean Power Plan is a major step forward in our nation’s effort to combat climate change and I strongly support it. “These new rules will help ensure that future generations have safer air to breathe and a healthier planet to enjoy, while supporting the green tech efforts that call the Central Coast home. I commend the Obama Administration for its steadfast commitment to addressing climate change for the health of our nation and our economy.”

SEEC Member Mark Pocan (WI-02): “I believe climate change represents one of the greatest threats to our national security, economic livelihood and the health of our planet. This historic plan renews our commitment to being good stewards of our environment and shows the United States is willing to be an international leader in combating global climate change.”

SEEC Member Jim Himes (CT-04): “Today, we’re taking our biggest step ever to reduce our carbon footprint and tackle the threat that climate change poses to our health, security and environment. I stand in support of the Clean Power Plan, which will further the transition to a cleaner, more renewable energy economy.”

SEEC Members Keith Ellison (MN-05) and Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03): “The Clean Power Plan is the most ambitious step ever taken by the U.S. to address global climate change. While we already limit harmful power plant emissions like arsenic, mercury and sulfur dioxide, we’ve been turning a blind eye to carbon. This plan will begin to undo some of the harmful effects that have gone unchecked in recent years and reduce carbon 32 percent below what they were in 2005.

“At the same time, we’re setting a course for our nation to become energy independent while reducing our dangerous greenhouse emissions and creating clean energy jobs at home. By investing in energy efficiency and clean energy technology, we can reduce energy bills, boost our economy, and take on climate change.

“The Clean Power Plan will also protect our health. The Environmental Protection Agency projects it will stop 3,600 premature deaths and prevent up to 90,000 asthma attacks in children. These health benefits will be especially important to communities of color, since they are more likely to live near environmental hazards like power plants and be exposed to air pollution from fossil fuels.

“We shouldn’t sell our children’s future for a few more years of oil and coal profits, and I applaud the president for leading on this vital issue.”

SEEC Member Peter Welch (VT-AL): “Climate change is real and has serious consequences for our economy, our livelihoods, and our health.  You don’t have to go any further than communities across Vermont to hear about its early impacts. Just ask the businesses and families wiped out by Tropical Storm Irene. Or the ski lift operator worried about losing his job as the season shortens. Or the farmer planning for changes in the productivity of her crops. Or the sugar maker coping with the uncertainty of when the season will start and how long it will last. 

“Every day we wait makes solving this problem more difficult.  And make no mistake about it, this is a problem that can be solved.

“President Obama’s bold Clean Power Plan will have an enormous impact on carbon emissions that are a leading cause of climate change.  It is a practical and flexible plan that is the product of constructive input from states and utilities.  To succeed, it is essential that all parties choose a path of cooperation over litigation and problem solving over intransigence. Time is of the essence.”

SEEC Member Lloyd Doggett (TX-35): “With Congress dominated by climate change deniers, the President is relying on sound science to combat one of our greatest security, environmental, and health challenges. Moving away from dirty coal means more reliance upon natural gas and renewable energy on which San Antonio and Austin are leaders. CPS and Austin Energy are prepared to be part of the solution. Our local entrepreneurs will gain more opportunities and all of us will have more hope that we can overcome the many threats posed by global warming.”

SEEC Member Jared Huffman (CA-02): “The Clean Power Plan is the biggest single step the United States has ever taken to fight climate change and avert its worst impacts. I applaud President Obama and EPA Administrator McCarthy for taking action when Congress would not.

“Congress must begin to take the existential threat of climate change seriously, following the example set by the Obama administration along with California and many other states.

“As the President said today, we are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, and perhaps the last with an opportunity to do something about it. It is up to us to act to ensure our children don’t inherit a world beyond fixing.”

SEEC Member David Price (NC-04): “I welcome President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which will enable our country to transition to a cleaner future, mitigating the effects of climate change, boosting the economy, and providing relief to consumers,” said Congressman Price. “The proposal gives states flexibility, and in North Carolina, we will be able to build on our past success with the Clean Smokestacks act and our state renewable portfolio standard. Adopting the President’s plan could create thousands of jobs for North Carolinians and cut electric bills by over $700 million state-wide. The Clean Power Plan is a clear win for the economy, the environment, and consumers, and I look forward to working with the Administration and the EPA to ensure that its provisions are effectively implemented.”    

SEEC Member Derek Kilmer (WA-06): “With today’s ‪Clean Power Plan our nation is showing the world we are committed to a future powered by clean energy. Here at home, Washington state has already proven to be a leader in the move to unleash alternative energy sources while scaling back greenhouse gas emissions. We are seeing the impacts of climate change already -- from substantial wildfires to changing ocean chemistry to more severe storms. By tackling this issue head on we can leave a better world for our kids and create new opportunities for the growth of dynamic new businesses and jobs.”

SEEC Member Annie Kuster (NH-02): “Climate change threatens New Hampshire’s pristine natural beauty and hurts our tourism economy, which so many Granite Staters rely on for employment. New Hampshire is already reducing our emissions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and it’s important that other states are held to the same standard as New Hampshire and other New England States. This action will help protect New Hampshire’s environment and its tourism industry, the second largest industry in the state!”

SEEC Member Susan Davis (CA-53): “The President’s ‪Clean Power Plan sets us on a real path to take on climate change. Future generations are counting on us.”

SEEC Member Mike Honda (CA-17): “A little over two years ago, President Barak Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan. Today, the EPA is making history by finalizing the Clean Power Plan – the first federal limits on dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants. Climate change is a threat to our health, our environment and future generations. The Clean Power Plan is the solution we need to address these challenges.”

SEEC Member Jim McDermott (WA-07): “Today, President Obama made history with the first-ever federal limits on dangerous carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Addressing climate change is not just an economic, public health, or national security issue: it is a moral imperative. I strongly support the President’s call to action against impacts that we are already feeling – from acidifying oceans, to rising seas, to more extreme weather. We cannot afford to wait, it's time to ‪Act On Climate.”

SEEC Member Tim Ryan (OH-13): “We know climate change is a dangerous and growing threat to our children, our families and our national economy. As extreme weather continued to increase in strength and consistency it is even more important that we act now – we cannot afford to wait any longer to reduce our carbon pollution and begin to stem this tide. The Clean Power Plan is an opportunity to strengthen our communities and economy by investing in clean energy technologies and increasing our efficiency.”