In Blog: Factually Speaking

Many of you have probably heard the United States Supreme Court issued a stay on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) last week. The League has been a strong supporter of this proposal and this news came as a disappointment. As mentioned in past fact sheets and reports, coal plants drive up energy costs for some of our most vulnerable populations and disproportionately contribute to health problems in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. The guidelines laid out in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would move Michigan in the right direction—toward renewable energy and energy efficiency measures—rather than continuing to produce energy through dirty, hazardous coal plants.
Here is a summary of events:

  • In August of 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final carbon rule, requiring power plants to slash emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • In September of 2015, the Michigan Agency for Energy announced plans to comply with the federal plan and began laying out their strategy.
  • February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on the plan’s implementation due to federal court action led in part by Attorney General Bill Schuette.
  • February 16, 2016, the Michigan Agency for Energy issues a statement after legal examination announcing that the state will wait for resolution of the issue through the courts and then determine how best to proceed, thus halting all work towards meeting EPA Clean Power Plan guidelines.

While the state of Michigan waits for final word on how to proceed, we are confident that the courts will ultimately uphold the Clean Power Plan, which has a strong legal foundation in the Clean Air Act. For starters, the decision—while not what we had hoped for—does not overturn the Clean Power Plan. The Supreme Court’s decision is a temporary pause while the court reviews the case.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court has already upheld the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act and we believe that the Clean Power Plan will ultimately prevail in the courts.

Despite these recent developments, the Clean Power Plan is still good energy policy for our state and the nation. Michigan must continue to move forward with its implementation plan to protect public health, reduce pollution and build on the success of our thriving clean energy economy. We all depend upon clean air to breathe, thrive and live our lives to the fullest, and the Clean Power Plan will help with that. If we can learn anything from the current public health crisis facing our state with the lead poisoning in Flint, it is that we cannot wait until it is too late to make the changes necessary to guarantee everyone a right to live healthfully.

— Shannon Nobles

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