California Joins Coalition of U.S. States and Cities to Defend President Obama’s Clean Power Plan

For Immediate Release

December 8, 2015 Contact: Alex Barnum, (916) 324-9670

SACRAMENTO—The State of California today joined 24 other states and municipalities in a federal court filing to defend the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which sets nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The filing opposes efforts by some states and industry groups to block implementation of the new rules.

“California supports President Obama’s plan to move forward and confront the serious threat of climate change,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez. “We know from California’s experience that making the power sector cleaner will protect public health and keep energy bills low while supporting a growing economy – benefits that the Clean Power Plan will bring to the rest of the country.”

Power plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution, making up about one-third of total emissions. The Clean Power Plan, one of the most significant efforts by the Obama administration to address climate change, works with states to control power plant emissions.  U.S. EPA estimates that the Plan will cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost a third from 2005 levels by 2030 while saving billions of dollars and thousands of lives from air pollution.

“Clean power brings significant benefits to the nation, and California is fully committed to fighting this misguided effort to protect polluters over public health,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols.

California, with one of the cleanest power grids in the country, is already on track to meet the new standards. Earlier this year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America. California is on track to achieve 33 percent renewable power by 2020, and the Governor signed legislation in October that sets a goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

In November, Governor Brown announced California’s commitment to fight lawsuits that seek to block implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

Today’s brief was filed on behalf of California by Governor Brown, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and the California Air Resources Board. In addition to California, the brief was signed by Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia; the cities of Boulder, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and South Miami, and Broward County, Florida.

Their brief asks the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject opponents’ motions to stay the Clean Power Plan pending resolution of their legal challenges. The brief is supported by declarations from, among others, the Air Resources Board, the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Independent System Operator. The brief can be found here (PDF), and the declarations here (PDF).