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Statement of Administration Policy: S.J.Res. 24 - Disapproving EPA Rule on Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Electric Utility Generating Units

November 17, 2015



(Sen. Capito, R-WV, and 48 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes S.J.Res. 24, which would undermine the public health protections of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and stop critical U.S. efforts to reduce dangerous carbon pollution from power plants. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the CAA gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. In 2009, EPA determined that GHG pollution threatens Americans' health and welfare by leading to long-lasting changes to the climate that can, and are already, having a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. This finding is consistent with conclusions of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and numerous other national and international scientific bodies. Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic GHG emissions. While the United States limits dangerous emissions of arsenic, mercury, lead, particulate matter, and ozone precursor pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan and the Carbon Pollution Standards put into place the first national limits on power plant carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan empowers States to cost-effectively reduce emissions from existing sources and provides States and power plants a great deal of flexibility in meeting the requirements. EPA expects that under the Clean Power Plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from power plants will be reduced by 32 percent from 2005 levels.

By nullifying the Clean Power Plan, S.J.Res. 24 seeks to block progress towards cleaner energy, eliminating public health and other benefits of up to $54 billion per year by 2030, including thousands fewer premature deaths from air pollution and tens of thousands of fewer childhood asthma attacks each year. Most importantly, the resolution would impede efforts to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants - the largest source of carbon pollution in the country - when the need to act, and to act quickly, to mitigate climate change impacts on American communities has never been more clear.

Since it was enacted in 1970, and amended in 1977 and 1990, each time with strong bipartisan support, the CAA has improved the Nation's air quality and protected public health. Over that same period of time, the economy has tripled in size while emissions of key pollutants have decreased by more than 70 percent. Forty-five years of clean air regulation have shown that a strong economy and strong environmental and public health protection go hand-in-hand.

Because S.J.Res. 24 threatens the health and economic welfare of future generations by blocking important standards to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector that take a flexible, common sense approach to addressing carbon pollution, if the President were presented with S.J.Res. 24, he would veto the bill.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: S.J.Res. 24 - Disapproving EPA Rule on Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Electric Utility Generating Units Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project