SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A group of concerned mothers and politicians met in Springfield today to urge republican lawmakers to back down from their opposition to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
This Obama administration initiative requires Missouri to cut its carbon emissions from power plants by 37% by 2030.
Our Nick Thompson is here to explain why some activists believe the state should embrace the regulations.
Right now implementation of the clean power plan has been delayed by the U.S. Supreme Court until legal challenges can be resolved, with one of those legal challenges coming from Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
But environmental activists believe Missouri is well positioned to meet the mandate.
Throughout President Obama’s term, Missouri’s republican legislature has pushed back with some successes against major federal initiative like the Affordable Care Act.
But Kay Mills, a local organizer for a group called Mom’s Clean Air Force, said Missouri lawmakers are wrong to oppose a policy that gives states flexibility in deciding how they’ll cut carbon emissions.
“We’ve got the potential of having a plan that works for us in Missouri that’s designed by people who know what they’re talking about in Missouri, but will help Missouri families,” says Mills.
Springfield’s Eric Burlison has sponsored a bill to prevent Missouri from working with the feds on the Clean Power Plan until the Supreme Court rules on it.
“We have to realize what the majority party is trying to do to the state of Missouri. They’re trying to totally isolate us from the federal government,” says Representative Charlie Norr.
To meet the EPA’s mandate, states can make existing plants more efficient, transition from coal to more gas and use more renewables like solar and wind.
Senator Blunt and the state’s major utility companies say costs will go up if the state has to move away from coal.
“As those are cast aside, not yet paid for, not yet used their life up someone has to continue to pay for them as the people that pay the utility bill also get to pay for the new plant that replaces them,” says Senator Blunt.
City Utilities last year announced the city would soon get a third of its energy from wind power.
Mills says that’s proof the state can implement the Clean Power Plan.
“They did that because it was a cheaper way to provide electricity. We have so much innovation in our state. I know if we really put our minds to it we can come up with ways to make this cost effective.”
A lower appeals court is expected to hear a challenge to the clean power plan early this summer.
If that court does not uphold the regulations, its likely environmentalists would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.