Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan recently announced that the County has joined a coalition of 18 states and seven cities that filed a motion in federal court to intervene in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” against legal challenge.
The coalition’s motion to intervene in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit responds to lawsuits brought by several states and industry groups to prevent implementation of the rule. The Clean Power Plan rule requires fossil-fueled power plants – the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation – to cut emissions pursuant to the Clean Air Act.
Mayor Ryan said he and a majority of his colleagues on the Broward County Commission voted to join the litigation in support of the Clean Power Plan rule because Broward residents are already feeling the effects of climate change and sea level rise.
“There is an urgent need for local governments and states to unite in defense of the Clean Power Plan and the emissions reductions it will achieve,” Mayor Ryan said. “Sea level rise and severe storms are already causing frequent and extensive flooding along Florida’s coast, with severe impacts on our residents, infrastructure, and economy.”
Ryan added that it was imperative to act immediately to reduce carbon emissions because South Florida is “literally the front line in combating sea level rise.”
“Our streets are flooding, our drainage systems are being overrun and our sea walls are being overtopped now,” Ryan said. “And it’s not just when we have a tropical storm or hurricane – we have flooding now simply from heavy rains and king tides. For South Florida, this isn’t a future concern. The damage is severe, it is happening now, and it will only get worse if we fail to act. We need national action, and the Clean Power Plan represents the most important step the US has ever taken to reduce the carbon emissions which are driving these impacts.”
The EPA adopted the Clean Power Plan through a multi-year stakeholder process that drew heavily on the experience of states and utilities in reducing power plant greenhouse gas emissions.
The finalization of the Clean Power Plan marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by states and cities to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan, along with the companion rule on new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, will control these emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that power plants can emit. The rule for existing plants is expected to eliminate as much climate change pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year – or 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars.
The states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, and the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boulder, South Miami have all joined the coalition.