Center for Clean Air Policy President Ned Helme Comments on Supreme Court’s Carbon Pollution Ruling

6.27.14

For Immediate Release:

Center for Clean Air Policy President Ned Helme Comments on Supreme Court’s Carbon Pollution Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2014 – Ned Helme, founder and president of the Center for Clean Air Policy, made the following statement about the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on the environment:

“The Supreme Court delivered another victory for clean air and deserves praise. In its 7-2 ruling this week, the high court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. The ruling held that the EPA can limit emissions that come from major power plants, but limited the agency’s power to issue permits for groups of smaller industrial, commercial and residential facilities.

“That works out just fine. In order to focus on the world’s biggest polluters, the EPA has been trying to avoid regulating smaller sources of pollution like home furnaces. The Supreme Court’s ruling reflects a clever approach – suggesting that only major sources that are already regulated can be regulated for their greenhouse gas emissions.

“Additionally, it is clear that small sources can be dealt with more effectively through incentive approaches rather than direct regulation. Clean energy tax credits in the 2008 stimulus package spurred significant investments in climate-friendly business development. Carrots work better than sticks to encourage low carbon, energy efficient practices.

“The Supreme Court decision allowed EPA to avoid the Clean Air Act’s threshold minimum tonnage limits, which are appropriate for conventional pollutants like SO2, but would force the regulation of comparatively small sources of CO2. (CO2 tonnages are much larger per unit of output than other pollutants.) The statutory cutoffs were, therefore, not appropriate for greenhouse gas emissions.  By limiting regulation to all industrial sources that are already regulated, the Supreme Court is helping EPA to avoid regulating very small CO2 sources, which contribute minimally to climate change.

“This pivotal decision gives the EPA the necessary authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and makes clear that other large non-utility sources can also be regulated in the future. We look forward to implementation of the Clean Power Plan and its core mission of limiting greenhouse gases whose effects disrupt our economy and our lives.”

More on CCAP’s analysis of the Clean Power Plan.

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Since 1985, the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) has been a recognized world leader in climate and air quality policy and is the only independent, nonprofit think tank working exclusively on those issues at the local, U.S. national and international levels. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., CCAP helps policymakers around the world develop, promote and implement innovative, market-based solutions to major climate, air quality and energy problems that balance both environmental and economic interests.