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Broad Coalition Defends EPA's Clean Power Plan in Federal Court

A broad coalition is stepping up in defense of the EPA's Clean Power Plan. (Pixabay)
A broad coalition is stepping up in defense of the EPA's Clean Power Plan. (Pixabay)
April 4, 2016

DENVER - Faith leaders, elected officials, public health experts and environmental advocates have filed statements in support of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is considering a case brought by industry groups and 27 state attorneys general, including Colorado's Cynthia Coffman, to block the measure.

Janice Nolen, assistant vice president for national policy, with the American Lung Association says the new rules are critical to addressing climate change.

"The Clean Power Plan is a landmark step to really address climate change as a nation," says Nolen. "We've been doing little things here and there but this is a really comprehensive look at trying to reduce carbon pollution from the biggest human-made source, which are the power plants."

Governor John Hickenlooper has come out in favor of the plan. Opponents claim power plants would have to make big investments to comply with rules that might be overturned, depending on the outcome of the next election.

The federal appeals court is expected to rule on the case later this year.

According to the EPA, the plan will produce up to $54 billion in climate and health benefits each year by 2030, and will prevent 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks.

James Crooks, assistant professor with National Jewish Health in Denver, notes communities who live closest to the sources of climate pollution are most at risk.

"The health impacts of power-plant emissions and climate change are likely to fall disproportionately on those among us least able to endure them," says Crooks. "Children and the elderly, those living in poverty or suffering from illness; and communities of color."

Ron Busby, president and CEO for the U.S. Black Chambers Incorporated, says small businesses that drive the nation's economy depend on healthy environments. He says the Clean Power Plan will lead to safer energy development, reduce pollution, and create new clean-energy jobs.

"We've been having this conversation now, literally, for over a decade," says Busby. "This is the only Earth that we have and we want to make sure that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have the same opportunity to be able to have a good lifestyle here."

The plan calls for reducing emissions from existing coal-fired power plants by 32 percent below their 2005 levels by 2030.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO