CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story misrepresented the federal power plan's percentage of energy costs. The plan would increase energy costs by 22 percent. The story has been updated to reflect these changes.
Chapel Hill has joined more than 50 municipal governments across the nation to support the amicus brief filed to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan seeks to promote clean energy practices and to combat pollution by setting national standards for each state to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent, comparative to 2005 levels, by 2030. The plan would give each state the power to customize its own plan to meet their respective emission targets.
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is one of the plaintiffs in the multi-state lawsuit filed against the plan, on the grounds that its requirements extend beyond the EPA’s authority and are too costly to implement.
The amicus brief was written by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School and was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit April 1. The brief argues that the plan is a critical legal step in addressing the economic and safety threats posed by climate change.
Oral arguments for the case with the court of appeals begin June 2.
Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center, said that the hope is that the court will look at the brief and the story it tells about climate change. He said that the brief sends the message that the Clean Power Plan has widespread support from the local leaders who experience the effects of greenhouse gas emissions firsthand.
“It’s a power signal when a state’s politicians take one view, while the local leaders who represent powerful population sectors take the opposite view,” Burger said.