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Montana Clean-Air Advocates Laud Court Decision on Clean Power Plan

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Clean-air advocates are cheering a federal appeals court decision to leave the Clean Power Plan in place. (xandert/morguefile)
Clean-air advocates are cheering a federal appeals court decision to leave the Clean Power Plan in place. (xandert/morguefile)
 By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT - Producer, Contact
January 22, 2016

HELENA, Mont. - Clean-air advocates are hailing a decision Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to leave President Obama's Clean Power Plan in place while the suit against it goes forward.

The attorneys general from 27 states, including Montana, had asked the court for a stay to block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing the plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, arguing it would cost jobs.

Michelle Uberuaga, field manager for the Montana chapter of the nonprofit Moms Clean Air Force, said she hopes the lawsuit ultimately fails. She added that she wants state leaders to formulate their own plan in the meantime, before the feds impose their version.

"The longer we wait, the fewer options we have," she said. "If the state works now, they can be proactive and be leaders rather than living in the past and dragging our feet. It's really frustrating. We need our leaders to step up."

The governor has said he supports the lawsuit but is nonetheless moving forward to establish a Montana-specific plan. The first monthly meeting of the Montana Clean Power Plan advisory council will be held at the end of February.

State Sen. Dick Barrett, D-Missoula, said the United States' international credibility is on the line in light of the agreement on climate change the United States negotiated in Paris in December.

"So if every country takes the attitude, 'Well, let others do it,' then nothing will get done," he said. "I think the position of the United States would be seriously impaired."

The states have until September to come up with their own plan or request an extension.

The court decision is online at edf.org.

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