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A historic summit between North and South Korea. Also on the Friday rundown: teachers continue their fight for funding; the EPA chief grilled on Capitol Hill; and remembering those who’ve lost their lives on the job.

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Despite Drama, Groups Say MI Needs Clean Power Plan

EPA data suggests that measures to cut carbon pollution under the Clean Power Plan will provide nearly $54 billion in climate and health benefits. (erdenebayar/Morguefile)
EPA data suggests that measures to cut carbon pollution under the Clean Power Plan will provide nearly $54 billion in climate and health benefits. (erdenebayar/Morguefile)
February 15, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – As the dust clears on the latest drama over the Clean Power Plan, some Michigan groups say work will continue in the state to reduce the threat of climate change.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan pending a U.S. appeals court review.

But Liesl Clark, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, explains the ruling doesn't overturn the Clean Power Plan, and says the state will continue to cut carbon pollution.

"Michigan has the oldest coal fleet in the nation,” she points out. “Our coal plants are over 50 years old and many of the plants are scuttled for retirement.

“These are still important conversations for the state of Michigan that will continue to happen whether there is a pause on the rule's implementation or not."

The EPA's standards call for Michigan to reduce 31 percent of carbon emissions from 2012 levels by 2030.

Several states, utilities and industry groups maintain the rules would result in lost jobs and reduced electric-grid reliability.

But according to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan will provide nearly $54 billion in climate and health benefits.

Heather Zichal, former deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, contends that 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 stresses. “States are in a position to be true leaders despite dysfunction of Washington around climate policy."

Zichal adds that there's strong public support for the standards, and thinks states that are moving ahead with carbon-cutting strategies are just being smart.

"As we have seen the growing body of scientific evidence showing that climate change is happening, the impacts are real in our communities and our states, it really does underscore that the time to act is now," she states.

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.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI