Court Brief Says Plan Protects Businesses and Economy from Climate Change
Columbia, SC — Today, 25 business groups including the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and Lowcountry Local First, announced that they are filing a friend of the court brief (an “amicus brief”) in support of the national Clean Power Plan, the strongest action to-date for addressing climate change. These groups represent a broad range of industries and regions nationwide.
In their brief, the groups say that unrestrained climate change will burden national, state and local economies with increased costs and business disruptions from droughts, flooding, reduced agriculture productivity, extreme weather, rising seas, and other disturbances. In addition they point out that the Clean Power Plan will boost economic growth by generating new market-based solutions and new jobs in renewable energy.
The Clean Power Plan has been challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Given the current vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and the potential for a 4-4 deadlock, the decision of the Circuit Court takes on greater importance.
Leading the groups is the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which has a membership network spanning more than 200,000 businesses. Frank Knapp Jr. is Co-Chair of ASBC and President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “Business organizations that oppose the Clean Power Plan are doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry. Real world experience tells us that implementing the Plan will create jobs and grow our economy. Its decentralized approach allows each state to decide how best to reduce carbon pollution. It protects our nation’s economy from the disastrous effects of unrestrained climate change — including the dire consequences to my state’s tourism economy.”
In a letter to the Lexington County Chronicle (Februrary 25, 2016), Eric Boomhower, Director of Public Relations for SCE&G, said the two nuclear plants being built near Jenkinsville, SC, “will reduce power-plant greenhouse gas emissions in our state by more than 20%, helping ensure compliance with federal clean air rules.” Mr. Boomhower also cited the economic benefits to South Carolina. “More than 3,500 construction-related jobs have been created, most of which are held by South Carolina residents. The new units are expected to create about 800 permanent positions.”
Business groups signing the amicus brief include:
American Sustainable Business Council
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
Business and Labor Coalition of New York
CABA (Climate Action Business Association, New England)
Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce (Kansas)
Idaho Clean Energy Association
Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium
Kentucky Sustainable Business Council
Local First Arizona
Local First Ithaca
Lowcountry Local First (South Carolina)
Metro Independent Business Alliance (Minneapolis)
Ohio Sustainable Business Council
National Small Business Network
New York State Sustainable Business Council
Pioneer Valley Local First
Small Business Minnesota
Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia
Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts
Sustainable Furnishings Council
West Virginia Sustainable Business Council
Polling of small business owners shows they expect to suffer economic harm if the Clean Power Plan does not survive the legal challenges:
- Majorities of business owners said they were concerned about “carbon pollution” (57 percent) and “climate change” (53 percent).
- More than half of all business owners (53 percent) believe climate change will adversely affect their business. Of that, 19 percent – nearly one in five – say that extreme weather events associated with climate change already have affected their operations.
- A clear majority, 64 percent, say that government regulation is needed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
- 57 percent say that the biggest emitters, like power plants, should make the most significant cuts in carbon emissions, rather than have all businesses cut emissions equally.
- Poll results may be found here: http://asbcouncil.org/poll-small-business-owners#Climate
The appeals court is set to hear oral argument in the case on June 2, 2016, with a decision expected 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 a membership of 5,000. Founded in 2000 the organization has taken a leadership role in making South Carolina more small business friendly in areas such as healthcare, taxation, regulation, worker training, energy/conservation, workers’ compensation and economic development.