Friday, April 17, 2015

Obama's Clean Power Plan Challenged in Court


On Thursday, the legal battle against Obama's most significant step in addressing climate change ensues. The country's two largest coal corporations, in conjunction with 14 coal-producing states, are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency in its latest regulation, known as the Clean Power Plan. This regulation specifically targets the coal industry, being the largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. By focusing on the rate reduction of carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan specifies an emissions target for each state. Moreover, this plan sets limits specifically on the power plants themselves, looking to reduce national carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 (Magill). 

The plaintiffs of the case, the two coal corporations and the 14 states, claim that the EPA lacks the authority to implement such a regulation and that current preparations for the rule have already hurt states and coal businesses. They have thus petitioned the court to block the EPA from finalizing the plan, a very rare occurrence in court. However, two of the three judges seemed skeptical of the plaintiff's arguments against the EPA. 

This lawsuit demonstrates the coal industry's attempts to save itself and its unwillingness to account for the negative externalities they have caused. Do you think their argument is a valid point? Moreover, will such an expansive proposal as this be viable across the country? 

Sources: Magill


Anonymous said...

Coal mining has had it's fame. Though it's still the most used energy source to generate electricity in the U.S, it's slowly being overrun by other energy sources like nuclear- which greatly emits less emissions than coal. I think that the coal industry's arguments are pointless. Even if the EPA did not have the power to implement such restrictions, the coal industry still cannot deny that all the negative externalizes that mining coal does. For that, they provide a weak argument. Furthermore, implementing this proposal is certainly viable. Though it would be slow to implement, we certainly are already slowly shifting into more efficient and environmental friendly energy sources.

Anonymous said...

As an industry, coal mining has been declining in countries all over the world. Mining is a very expensive and difficult process to obtain a product that does not cost enough to compensate expenses. It is not a profitable energy source for many countries, as well it is a huge pollutant. Even in China, where there is little consideration about the environment, nor the rights of workers who mine the coal, the rates of coal mining have been declining because it is not as profitable as gas or nuclear energy. The EPA's proposal is very viable. Even without the Clean Power Plan, coal mining would still be declining. People from the coal industry just want to keep their jobs and income sources. I am fully convinced that the government ought to help the workers of the coal industry transition into new jobs in different industries, by paying for a free education (another reason to implement America's College Promise), and ensuring employment.

Alex Medwid said...

It doesn't seem like there is any reasonable justification for the lawsuit. The article says that the measure was controversial, but doesn't have much detail on the lawsuit. If there is another article on the matter, it might be easier to analyze the merit of the lawsuit.

From the article, it seems that many experts criticize the policy for not being extreme enough, so it seems unlikely that this bill is really too expansive to be viable.