Washington, DC—Last week, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC) filed a motion for permission to file a brief as friend of the court in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a case now before a federal appeals court in Washington, DC, that will decide the legality of the Obama Administration’s landmark Clean Power Plan.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most important cases in the history of United States law,” said Steve Harvey, an attorney from Philadelphia who represents ASBC and SCSBCC. “The Clean Power Plan is the most significant effort by the United States to tackle one of its, and the world’s, biggest problems.”
The plan requires states to develop plans for limiting emissions from existing power plants, as part of the effort to achieve a 30 percent reduction in carbon pollution from the power sector by 2030.
“The U.S. Chamber and National Federation of Independent Business do not speak for most small and medium-sized businesses on this issue,” said Frank Knapp Jr., co-chair of ASBC and President and CEO of the SCSBCC. “Our organizations represent a vast array of businesses that we know support reducing carbon emissions in an effort to restrain the negative impacts of climate change while promoting economic development, new businesses and job growth.”
“To tackle climate change we need the guidance that the Clean Power Plan provides, because of the large-scale nature of the problem. And the plan also offers great latitude to the states for implementation, thereby delivering tremendous opportunities for business innovation and growth,” said David Levine, CEO of ASBC. “The Clean Power Plan represents a bold, new foundation for public-private partnership and for growing jobs and our economy.”
“Make no mistake, small business owners are very concerned that climate change will hurt their operations – nearly one in five say it has already affected them, according to national, scientific polling,” said Levine. “That’s why 64 percent of small business owners want government to regulate emissions from power plants, as the Clean Power Plan will do. “
A coalition of 25 states, led by West Virginia and Texas, filed the lawsuit claiming that the Clean Power Plan exceeds the federal government’s authority. They are supported in the lawsuit by some of the largest fossil fuel companies and their lobby group. The EPA is defending the lawsuit, with the support of many states, including California, New York, and Massachusetts, as well as numerous non-government organizations, such as the American Lung Association, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club, and others.
The appeals court is set to hear oral argument in the case on June 2, 2016, with a decision later this year. The case will almost certainly proceed to the United States Supreme Court, with an ultimate decision in 2017.
The American Sustainable Business Council www.asbcouncil.org advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 200,000 businesses and more than 325,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers and investors.
The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce www.scsbc.org is a statewide advocacy organization with approximate 5000 members. It plays a leadership role in making South Carolina more small business friendly in areas such as taxation, regulation, worker training, energy/conservation and economic development.