Health, Environmental Groups Move to Support America’s Clean Power Plan

Groups File Motion to Intervene in Defense of the Historic Clean Air Safeguards

October 27, 2015
Contact: 
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – October 27, 2015) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and a broad group of other health and environmental organizations filed a motion in federal court today to intervene in litigation to defend America’s Clean Power Plan – a historic clean air measure that established the first-ever limits on climate-destabilizing pollution from the nation’s power plants.

The American Lung Association, EDF, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Clean Air Council, Clean Wisconsin, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Ohio Environmental Council all filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to intervene in support of the Clean Power Plan in lawsuits filed by opponents including major emitters of harmful carbon pollution. The same coalition also filed a separate motion to intervene in support of related Clean Air Act rules establishing carbon pollution standards for new, modified and reconstructed fossil fuel-fired power plants. 

“The Organizations are committed to protecting their members and others from the impacts of dangerous air pollution from existing power plants, including climate change and other harms to public health and welfare,” the groups said in their motion. “The Clean Power Plan also will reduce existing power plants’ emissions of smog- and soot-forming pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particles … These pollution reductions will lower the rates of asthma attacks, respiratory disease, heart attacks, and premature death that occur each year as a result of exposure to such pollutants.”

The Clean Power Plan is the single biggest step America has ever taken to address the threat of climate change. Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, and the Clean Power Plan is expected to reduce this pollution to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.  The Clean Power Plan builds on existing trends towards cleaner generation in the power sector that are helping reduce emissions while creating economic opportunities and saving consumers money.     

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which developed the Clean Power Plan on the basis of extensive technical and legal analysis, estimates it will save 3,600 lives and prevent 90,000 childhood asthma attacks when it’s fully implemented in 2030.

“The Clean Power Plan will lead to healthier air and a safer climate for all Americans, and it is firmly anchored in our nation’s clean air laws and a strong scientific record,” said Tomás Carbonell, Director of Regulatory Policy and Senior Attorney at EDF. “EDF is committed to vigorously defending the Clean Power Plan in court, and to protecting the vital health and climate security benefits it will deliver.” 

EDF was a party to earlier lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan. Several different courts threw out those lawsuits.

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