LETTER – Court Rejects Obama’s Clean Power Plan Stay: Set Back for Christie Admin. and Fossil Fuel Industry

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered that the motions by New Jersey and Tea Party States to block the Clean Power Plan have been denied. The litigation from 26 states cited the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) went beyond Congress’s authority to regulate states’ electricity generation with the most historic plan to reduce dangerous carbon emissions. The Christie Administration said the Plan “constitutes an unlawful extension of authority by the federal agency, threatens New Jersey’s existing authority to manage and oversee its own energy future and disproportionately places an unfair burden on states that have already significantly reduced carbon emissions.” However, carbon pollution is the main contributor to climate change and leading cause of breathing problems in our state. The plan will help avoid 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children and deliver total health benefits of $14 billion to $34 billion in 2030 to the American people, according to the EPA. In addition, average electric utility bills for consumers are projected to decline by more than $80 per year when the Clean Power Plan is fully implemented. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:

 

“In a major setback for the coal industry and the Christie Administration, the Court refused to give 26 states including New Jersey a stay on the Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. This means the Clean Power Plan can go forward and be implemented, even though the Christie Administration doesn’t want to implement it. The Plan sets the first limits on dangerous carbon pollution from power plants that cause climate change. The Governor wants to deny that climate change is a crisis, but he can’t deny the Clean Power Plan anymore.”

 

“What is even more outrageous is that New Jersey was originally one of the 11 states that sued the EPA to issue a carbon rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. We won the victory in 2007 at the U.S. Supreme Court during the Massachusetts vs. EPA case. Instead of protecting our public health and environment, our Governor sued to block the Plan to try turn that case on its head.  The only reason Christie joined the lawsuit was to promote his presidential campaign over our public health and the environment. In an outrageous abuse of power, Christie went around the legislature and the majority of people who support the Clean Power Plan by siding with Big Oil and the coal industry. By filing this suit, he clearly aligned New Jersey with the Koch Brothers and Texas by trying to overturn these rules instead of protecting our state from climate impacts and air pollution. Christie only sued the Obama Administration for political reasons that would have undermined our economy as well as our public health. It is clear the only science Christie believes in political science and taking care of special interests. The Sierra Club was also an amicus in the case to block the plan and are glad to see these pollution reductions move forward.”

 

“Christie wants to lead the charge to dismantle clean air safeguards that protect our lungs. New Jersey has some of the worst air quality in the nation and Governor Christie’s policies are just making it worse.  Improving our air quality would not only help protect our health by saving lives, but it will help our environment. However, Governor Christie has have aligned himself with polluters and is in direct opposition to the majority of New Jerseyans who support the Clean Power Plan. Christie is only doing the fossil fuel industry’s dirty work by fighting to roll back safeguards that save lives and help us all breathe a little easier. A third of New Jersey’s pollution comes from out-of-state and this rule will actually cause bigger reductions there than in New Jersey. This will protect our industry and our environment. This plan is a win-win-win for N.J, but Christie’s decision was a lose-lose for us. That is why we are glad this plan will move now forward.”

 

“Despite the fact that since Christie has been in office we have seen 22 major weather events, and there is another one coming our way, Governor Christie has denied climate change is a crisis because he is in lock step with the Right Wing for his political campaign. Most importantly, he’s denying New Jersey’s ability to reduce greenhouse gasses. This was another attempt to block any efforts to fight climate change and we are glad it is overturned. He has violated the Global Warming Response Act by eliminating programs to reduce carbon pollution. He closed the Office of Climate Change, pulled us out of RGGI, refused to regulate carbon as an air pollutant, rolled back our Energy Master Plan goals from 30% to 22.5%, blocked offshore wind, and diverted over a $1 billion from the Clean Energy Fund. His actions are having an impact on New Jersey with consequences to our health and environment. Now that this lawsuit has been blocked, we have won one battle for Christie to ruin our environment and refuse to combat climate change.”