Blog – What They’re Saying: Post-Oral Arguments: Legal and Policy Experts Voice Support for the Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) is built on a strong legal foundation. It is consistent with the law, earlier court precedents, and other EPA programs. Coming out of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals oral arguments on September 27, please see below for a sampling of the many legal and policy experts supporting the CPP.  


A comprehensive list of the supporters of the Clean Power Plan in court can be found HERE.

“The Clean Power Plan had a very good day. But we aren’t taking that to the bank just yet. What is certain, though, is we need to take swift and decisive action to combat climate change. This plan is our best available tool, and the court should uphold it. If we don’t limit carbon pollution, and quickly, we will bequeath to our children and all future generations a world of climate catastrophe.”

– David Doniger, Director of the Climate and Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (9/27/16, Press Release)


“The case presented in favor of the Clean Power Plan today is extremely strong and demonstrated that the standards are flexible, cost-effective, and built on a solid legal foundation. Public health champions, environmental advocates, utility companies, and supportive states all spoke up in court today because the Clean Power Plan saves lives and creates jobs in a way that is plainly consistent with the law. That is what we have known since day one of this process.

“On the other hand, we continue to be surprised that polluters and their political allies continue to rehash claims that lack merit both inside and outside the courtroom. That is why we remain confident that the Clean Power Plan will be implemented to protect the health of American families when it is upheld in Court.”

– Joanne Spalding, Chief Legal Counsel, Sierra Club (9/27/16, Press Release)


“This was a good day in court for America’s Clean Power Plan and for healthier air, a safer climate and economic prosperity,”

“It was a far-ranging and lively day of argument. The questions posed by the judges today reflected an understanding that the Clean Power Plan establishes eminently achievable emission reduction targets based on cost-effective, proven approaches that the power sector has been utilizing for decades – and is consistent with clean air policies adopted by Republican and Democratic administrations alike.”

– Vickie Patton, General Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund, (9/27/16, Press Statement)


“There was no effort to litigate whether climate change was real or a problem.”

Howard Fox, Counsel, Earth Justice (9/27/16)


“Footnote 7 may be just a footnote, but reading it correctly will help secure the future of a rule [CPP] that is projected, each year, to save thousands of lives and secure billions of dollars in climate and public health benefits.”

– Richard Revesz, Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, New York University School of Law (9/27/16, American Constitution Society)


“You’re right it’s a powerful law [the Clean Air Act], but Congress is responsible for that, not the EPA. Congress in 1970 passed a law that said protect American health, and in fact gave the agency a lot of room to maneuver – flexibility – to deal with new problems like climate change. And, EPA has adapted to that by dealing with CO2 pollution and dealing with the electricity sector, where a great deal of the pollution is – about 40% of the pollution in our economy is coming from the power sector.”

– Jody Freeman, Harvard Law Professor (9/27/16, WNYC)


“The briefs opposing the Clean Power Plan that some Members of Congress, state politicians, and outside organizations filed in this case may be seen as another expression of this climate denial apparatus.  In aggregate, the politician authors of these briefs have received over $107 million from the fossil fuel industry, and while they are ostensibly elected to represent the interests of their constituents, we regularly see them taking positions that are opposed to conclusions drawn about the effects of climate change by institutions and academics in their own states.” 

–  Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Harry Reid (D-NV), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Edward Markey (D-MA) (9/26/16, Press Release)


“Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of the Legislature and Governor Pawlenty, Minnesota has more than 50,000 clean energy jobs today. We must build on these past bipartisan efforts to build a clean energy economy that works for all Minnesotans. I look forward to renewing this work in 2017.”

– Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota (9/27/16, Press Release)  


“Today, my office is leading a coalition of 25 states, cities, and counties in defense of the Clean Power Plan, regulations that will, for the time ever, limit climate change pollution from our nation’s largest source, fossil-fueled power plants.  In our states, we have demonstrated the opponents’ ‘doom and gloom’ predictions are wrong – our states have shown that power plant pollution can be cut dramatically, while holding the line on utility bills, maintaining grid reliability, and adding billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to our economies. I look forward to the Court upholding the Clean Power Plan, and ensuring that we will continue to take essential actions in fighting the unprecedented health, environmental, and economic impacts of climate change.”   

– Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General (9/27/16, Press Release)


“While Climate Change deniers try to obstruct federal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we remain committed to making progress here in Minnesota. We won’t wait for this case to be resolved, because tackling climate change has never been about satisfying Washington bureaucrats. It’s about providing Minnesotans with affordable and reliable energy, while reducing the harmful emissions that threaten our environment and our health.

“The Clean Power Plan is an essential, achievable plan for realizing the economic, health, and environmental benefits of clean air. As arguments are heard today in a Washington, D.C. courtroom, Virginia will be on the side of science and the overwhelming majority of Virginians and Americans who understand climate change is real and that the CPP is the kind of bold step forward we need.”

Mark Herring, Virginia Attorney General (Press Release)


“It is no understatement to say that this landmark regulation is critical to the efforts to curb global climate change, and to curb the damage it is doing right now to our public health, damage to our natural resource-based economy, and to our environment generally,”

– Janet Mills, Maine Attorney General (9/27/16, Maine Public Radio)


“America needs to move toward clean, renewable energy sources now to slow climate change through policies that support renewable energy and limit carbon emissions.  Climate change is very costly to Florida families, our economy and local communities. EPA is right to implement the Clean Air Act to discourage carbon pollution and help states transition to clean energy solutions and boost the jobs of the future, […]

“The Clean Power Plan sends a strong, clear message that it is time to invest in the jobs of tomorrow and the private sector is responding by ramping up investments and expanding hiring.

“In fact, many states are already on track to meet the carbon reduction goals and I heard arguments in favor of the Clean Power Plan in court today from some power companies.”

– Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Florida), (9/27/16, Press Release)


“We believe that the Clean Power Plan is rooted in a solid legal foundation consistent with Congress’ intent under the Clean Air Act.  We are confident the plan will be upheld and will ultimately save lives by reducing pollution from power plants. The achievable, flexible and affordable goals of the Clean Power Plan support our country’s transition to a clean energy economy already in progress, which is creating sustainable jobs, while improving the United States’ position as a global technology and energy leader.”

– House of Representatives Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (9/27/16, Press Release)


“Consumers Union believes that the Clean Power Plan will have a positive impact on the lives of residents nationwide, if states move forward with consumer-friendly programs. More clean energy is in our future, and states will play a pivotal role in crafting plans to get us there. With a little foresight and effective planning, the Clean Power Plan has the ability to significantly reduce harmful pollution from power plants while lowering utility costs for consumers across the country.”

– Jason Kuruvilla, Consumers Union (9/27/16,


“The power producers affiliated with the lawsuit pumped out more than 1.2 billion tons of carbon pollution in 2014. When the Clean Power Plan is upheld, they will be required to reduce this pollution. No wonder the dirty energy industry has contributed more than $24 million in campaign contributions to state officials affiliated with this lawsuit.”

– Greg Dotson, Vice President of Energy Policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund (9/27/16, Press Release)


“Today marks a big day for the single biggest step our country has ever taken to tackle climate change. We are confident that the Clean Power Plan will be upheld by the courts – it has a strong legal foundation in the Clean Air Act, is consistent with other EPA air pollution reduction programs, and is the result of unprecedented public input and stakeholder engagement.

“Let’s be clear, opposition to this commonsense plan is not about the merits – it’s about Big Polluters’ political allies trying to protect the fossil fuel industry’s profits. Climate change is an urgent threat, which is already taking a toll on communities across the country including droughts, wildfires, sea level rise, and more extreme weather. It is simply unacceptable that the threats posed by climate change and the health impacts of relying on dirty sources of energy fall disproportionately on low income and communities of color. Given the clear benefits of climate solutions and the threat of inaction, many states are already moving forward and those who wait risk being left behind.”

– Bill Holland State Policy Director, the League of Conservation Voters (9/27/16, Press Release)


“We believe the Clean Power Plan is well within the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act, and an essential component in our broader fight against climate change. By moving forward with the Clean Power Plan, we can make real progress in reducing carbon pollution and protecting the health of Americans for generations to come.”

– Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO, the American Lung Association (9/27/16, Press Release)


“The Clean Power Plan reasonably builds on these existing trends in the power sector that have allowed many states to reliably and cost-effectively slash carbon pollution at a rapid rate over the last decade through investment in clean sources of electric generation, like wind power. We fully expect the D.C. Circuit to agree that EPA correctly took these facts into account in considering well-established pollution control measures, such as renewable energy, when establishing carbon reduction standards for power plants under the plan.”

– American Wind Energy Association (9/27/16, Wind Power Engineering)