More than 50 city and county governments from 28 states – together with The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National League of Cities (NLC), and the mayors of Dallas; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Orlando, Fla. – have signed an amicus brief urging a federal court to uphold the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) controversial Clean Power Plan (CPP).
The CPP, which was finalized in August 2015, creates the first-ever regulations on carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. It mandates a cut in carbon pollution from the power sector of 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. However, a coalition of over 20 states launched a lawsuit against the EPA to eliminate the climate change initiative, and the U.S. Supreme Court halted the plan until the case is resolved in the lower federal court.
The amicus brief, authored by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, was filed in the court on Friday.
The signatories represent a diverse geographic, economic and political mix, and 23 of them are local governments within states that have joined the lawsuit against the EPA. In all, the signatories represent 51 localities and more than 19,000 additional cities, villages and towns that are part of the USCM and NLC networks.
“The nation’s mayors are pleased to join in the defense of the Clean Power Plan, which is an essential part of our nation’s ability to respond to climate change,” says Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, president of USCM. “This plan will significantly cut carbon pollution from U.S. power plants; we must implement it now.”
According to USCM, city and county governments are the first line of defense in weather disasters and climate impacts, which grow increasingly frequent and severe as greenhouse-gas emissions cause the climate to change. Many cities are already experiencing – and paying for – damage caused by climate change. The amicus brief provides examples, such as heat waves in Texas and the increased threat of flooding propelled by rising sea levels Miami Beach.
The local government brief recognizes and builds on strong demand for climate action by cities and counties, which view the Clean Power Plan as a “legally necessary step toward addressing the extraordinary threat posed by climate change.”
“This amicus brief shows how cities across America are leading the way in the fight against climate change – and how eager they are for state governments to join them,” says Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, three-term mayor of New York City and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “Mayors are responsible for people’s health and safety, and with their cities already feeling the effects of climate change, they can’t afford to let ideological battles slow the great work they’re doing to clean the air, strengthen local economies and protect people from risks.”
The full brief is available here.