Disappointing U.S. Supreme Court Decision Will Delay Climate Change Progress

Note: Late Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court halted implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan until legal challenges are resolved. Below are two statements from Public Citizen experts.

Statement of David Arkush, managing director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program:
We are extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan. The stay will delay progress on climate change at a time when we need much more assertive action. We urge states to continue writing their implementation plans under the rule while the litigation is pending, which they are free to do. State plans can benefit consumers tremendously by lowering electricity bills and boosting public health. Electric utilities are increasingly saying that the Clean Power Plan is workable. We cannot afford to lose any time working to stop climate change from devastating our economy and our planet.

Statement of Tom “Smitty” Smith, director, Public Citizen’s Texas office:
The Supreme Court yesterday stayed implementation of the EPA’s plan to control carbon pollution. But it can’t suspend the rules of nature, and nature will prevail.

A delay in implementing the EPA’s clean power plan will be very harmful to Texans.

Texas’ leadership has its head in the sand, but Texas will get burned because our state is likely to suffer devastating consequences from climate change – heat waves, drought, agricultural losses, dried-up lakes and rivers, higher utility and insurance bills, increased early deaths and increased spending on health care.

No state emits more carbon dioxide from its power plants than Texas, and Texas would benefit tremendously from a shift in energy sources because of our vast renewable resources and our potential to reduce energy use through efficiency, both of which are lower-cost options than retrofitting coal plants, and both of which would put money into Texans’ pockets. We could export our clean renewable resources to neighboring states. We could save the $1 billion we send to Wyoming to buy coal each year and reinvest it in homegrown Texas energy resources, reducing our bills and creating jobs.

The energy sector is changing. As Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said today, the changes in the energy sector will require planning. The challenge now shifts to the interim committees of the Texas Legislature to begin to develop plans to build new power lines and dispatch systems needed to meet the needs of the new energy sector that is developing, with or without new clean power rules.