Why Some States Sided with EPA in Clean Power Plan Fight

A writer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce analyzed the impact of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the one challenged by Oklahoma and more than two dozen other states and discovered those states fighting the plan will share the brunt of cutting the carbon emissions. But those states that filed a legal brief last week in support of the Environmental Protection Agency will have only a small amount of cuts in emissions.

Sean Hackbarth, a senior editor at the Chamber of Commerce found that the 28 states that took the EPA to court and won a stay of enforcement from the U.S. Supreme Court have to provide 81 percent of the total carbon emission cuts. The 18 states that filed in support of the EPA have only to come up with 10 percent in cuts.

As Hackbarth wrote, “Simply put, some states have more skin in the game.”

The U.S. Chamber is supporting Oklahoma and the other 27 states. So are 16 state and local chambers of commerce as well as business groups from 40 states. As Hackbarth discovered, nine states will be allowed to increase their carbon emissions rate from 2020 to 2030 and eight of them support the Clean Power Plan. New Jersey is the exception. Hawaii and Vermont face no emissions reductions but are in support of the EPA’s plan.

Texas will be forced to reduce carbon emissions by 51 million tons which is a few million short of the 57 million tons of reductions required by the 18 states that filed in support of the EPA.

Oklahoma, under EPA orders to reduce emissions by 32 percent below 2012 levels, was one of the early states to fight the EPA. Attorney General Scott Pruitt said if allowed to become law, the Clean Power Plan would force “Oklahoma into fundamentally restructuring the generation, transmission and regulation of electricity in such a manner that would threaten the reliability and affordability of power in the state.”

It was a year ago this month that the governor signed an executive order to prevent Oklahoma from submitting a plan to implement the Clean Power Plan.