UCS Urges House to Vote No on Clean Power Plan "Opt-Out" Bill

Statement by Robert Cowin, Director of Government Affairs for the Climate and Energy Program

Published May 20, 2015

WASHINGTON (June 22, 2015)–Today, the U.S. House of Representatives scheduled Rep. Ed Whitfield’s (R-Ky.) bill (H.R.2042), which allows states to “opt out” of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, for consideration on the floor. Legislators should oppose this dangerous legislation that would limit the nation’s ability to effectively combat climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Robert Cowin, director of government affairs for Climate and Energy Program at UCS.

“Given that states can’t opt out of climate change or its resulting impacts, our strongest line of defense to date is the Clean Power Plan. The EPA is providing states with the flexibility needed to affordably reduce their carbon emissions in ways best suited to their state’s resources. In fact, many states are already on track to meet or even exceed the carbon reduction goals set for them.

“This includes Rep. Whitfield’s very own Kentucky, which—according to an analysis titled States of Progress released by UCS earlier this month—won’t have to do anything above and beyond existing commitments to meet their near-term 2020 Clean Power Plan benchmark. Although Kentucky, along with 13 other states, is on track to surpass its 2020 benchmark by simply following through on its planned coal plant closures, it’s still suing the EPA to block the rule claiming undue hardship.

“Unfortunately, there is no Captain Planet-like superhero to rescue us from climate change. But the Clean Power Plan is a realistic, common sense initiative that can be a powerful weapon for cutting carbon emissions from power plants—the single largest source of U.S. global warming pollution.”

Additional information regarding how states can go further than the goals set for them in the Clean Power Plan can be found in the UCS report titled Strengthening the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.