Rhode Island Should Continue to Act on Climate

Media Releases

Environment Rhode Island

Contact: Travis Madsen, [email protected], 720-937-2609
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it will delay implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan – the centerpiece of President Obama’s plans to tackle climate change – while it hears lawsuits from polluters and their allies who want to kill the rule. However, the decision has no bearing on state-level plans to clean up the pollution that is heating our planet. Travis Madsen, State Climate Campaign Director for Environment Rhode Island, issued this statement:
“While we’re confident that yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is only a temporary setback for clean air and a healthy planet, the ruling reinforces how important it is that Rhode Island continue to lead on climate.
Our leadership helped make the Clean Power Plan possible. By establishing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2005 – the nation’s first limit on global warming pollution from power plants – we demonstrated how to get the job done. At the same time, we showed that cleaning up pollution from power plants has widespread benefits – including cleaner air, more energy efficiency, and a rapidly growing clean energy economy.
Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in no way prevents Rhode Island from moving forward with the process currently underway to review the success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and improve its performance in cleaning up power plant pollution. Nor does it affect efforts to clean up pollution from transportation, industry or other sources.
Governor Raimondo has pledged to protect our children and communities from the worst impacts of climate change. The state has a target of reducing pollution from all sources 35 to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80 percent by mid-century.
Now we need to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce more power plant pollution, faster – aligning the program with our overall climate goals. Our region should reduce power plant emissions to less than 40 million tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2030 (at least 55 percent below today’s levels).
The Supreme Court decision does not overturn the Clean Power Plan. Instead the ruling pauses the plan while a lower court considers briefs and arguments on an expedited schedule. The Supreme Court has already affirmed that carbon pollution is dangerous and upheld the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act. We expect the Clean Power Plan to prevail in the courts.
That said, there’s no reason to wait for the courts to rule on the Clean Power Plan before we move ahead. By advancing our own plans to reduce global warming pollution, we can show the way forward for the rest of the nation.”

Environment Rhode Island is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentRhodeIsland.org