States Voice Strong Support for EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan in Joint Letter to Agency

December 1, 2014

In a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, environment and energy leaders from 14 states recently expressed strong support for the agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

This group of state environmental agency leaders, energy agency leaders and public utility commissioners commended the proposed carbon pollution rule for power plants, which they said provides states the flexibility to build on proven policies to cost-effectively achieve meaningful carbon pollution reductions.

Officials from these 14 states participated in this letter: CA, CT, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MN, NY, NH, OR, RI, VT, WA.

“Climate impacts are already affecting Minnesota citizens, businesses, farmers and communities. Increased extreme weather is resulting in increased flooding and drought events," said John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. "The need for action is urgent, and the Clean Power Plan represents a significant step forward to address this challenge. It does so by building on what states like Minnesota and power companies are already doing to reduce carbon pollution."

"We applaud EPA for developing a proposal that allows states a great deal of flexibility to develop a plan that is tailored to individual circumstances, including ways to build on existing climate and clean energy programs," said Kelly Speakes-Backman, a commissioner with the Maryland Public Service Commission and chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Inc., board of directors.

"California is cleaning up its power grid, cutting dangerous pollution, and growing its economy, said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols.  “And we are not alone.  Collectively, our states have reduced emissions 23 percent over the past eight years using systems that EPA’s approach supports – and this rule will drive further reductions. Still, we know that more needs to be done, and greater reductions are needed from every sector to meet the global challenge of stabilizing the climate.”

"Storms like Hurricane Sandy have made it clear to our residents that climate change has a steep price tag." said Robert Klee, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "At the same time, our experience has shown that we can take actions now to protect the health and safety of our citizens while boosting the economy. We have every reason to act, and we applaud EPA for proposing a strong, flexible national framework that will allow states to take the lead while holding them accountable for achieving their goals so people in all states will receive these benefits."

"Our experience shows that states can achieve significant, cost-effective reductions through the EPA’s approach. Our states collectively reduced emissions 23 percent in the past eight years using this kind of system—and some of our states achieved double that rate of reduction," said David Littell, commissioner on the Maine Public Utilities Commission and former chair of RGGI.

The Dec. 1 letter and the states’ dialogue leading to it was facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center. The group of state leaders has been meeting since July 2013. The Center previously facilitated comments to the EPA in December 2013 from a similar group of state leaders prior to the issuance of the rule. For more information on the Center’s related work, please visit http://www.georgetownclimate.org/our-clean-energy-work.

EPA’s proposed rule projects a 30 percent overall reduction in carbon pollution from the U.S. power sector by 2030 from 2005 levels and sets individual carbon pollution reduction levels for states. The Georgetown Climate Center provides energy and carbon pollution profiles of each state in its online State Energy Analysis Tool.

In the letter, state officials respond to EPA’s requests for comment in the proposal and in its subsequent Notice of Data Availability, suggesting ways that EPA can clarify and refine the rule.

To read the full text of the letter, visit http://www.georgetownclimate.org/CleanPowerPlan/state-support-letter.