COLUMBUS – The saga over the merits of the Clean Power Plan continues, with the U.S. Supreme Court staying implementation of the standards pending legal challenges.
But supporters are confident the standards will ultimately be upheld.
Ohio is among 27 states suing the Environmental Protection Agency over the standards, which are intended to reduce carbon emissions.
The lawsuits involve concerns about lost jobs and the reliability of electrical production.
But as the owner of a clean energy business in Cincinnati, Steve Melink says the goals of the Clean Power Plan are achievable and necessary to reduce the risk of severe climate change.
“A new age is dawning – the clean energy age – and it’s time to embrace rather than put off what is coming anyway,” he stresses. “The world is moving towards cleaner energy.”
The court decision puts the Clean Power Plan on hold as a U.S. appeals court considers the merits of the lawsuits.
Clean energy supporters note that the Supreme Court already upheld the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act.
Heather Zichal served as deputy assistant for Energy and Climate Change for President Barack Obama. She says despite the delay, many states are moving ahead with plans to cut emissions, knowing there is strong public support.
But she contends the Clean Power Plan is becoming a political football during the election.
“Underlying all of the political theater is a lot of really important action that’s being taken at the state level that’s allowing states to invest in a clean energy economy,” she says. “States are in a position to be true leaders despite dysfunction of Washington around climate policy.”
Melink adds that smart companies and smart states are moving forward with clean energy, allowing them to get ahead of the curve, and he hopes that will be true in Ohio.
“I hope our lawmakers don’t use this as an excuse, but instead embrace inevitability of solar power, wind power, energy efficiency as a way to make our state more competitive and create new industries,” he states.
EPA data suggests that the Clean Power Plan will provide nearly $54 billion in climate and health benefits.