Contact:
Beau Boughamer, Beau.Boughamer@seiu.org, 202-765-9143

Issued April 04, 2016

Clean air for working families hangs in balance at appeals court

WASHINGTON - Following its submission of an amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in West Virginia, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency - the case centering on the Obama administration’s plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants - the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) issued the following statement:

“At home and in their communities, especially in communities of color, working moms and dads and their children are forced to breathe dirty air. The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan would reduce carbon emissions from power plants that pollute the air and contribute to climate change.

“SEIU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case that is blocking implementation of the president’s new power plant rules because our 2 million members provide services and care to their communities and workplaces — and SEIU members experience and witness, from the front lines, the health consequences of pollution. Children and adults who suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments are being denied justice. African Americans and Latinos in particular are more likely to live in counties that had worse-than-average problems with particle pollution. [1]

“The wealthy extremists and corporations who are fighting the new rules would have us believe we must choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment, but working families should have both, and we can. The economic benefits of the Clean Power Plan are substantial for communities that are disproportionately affected by pollution as well as the people living in those communities whose health will no longer be threatened.[2] The Clean Power Plan and related action by the administration also provide those in industries affected by the new rules with the necessary supports to transition into good-paying, sustainable jobs.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s legal authority to enact the plan is well established, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals should clear the way for the plan to be implemented and enforced.”

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[1] Miranda ML, Edwards SE, Keating MH, Paul CJ. Making the Environmental Justice Grade: The Relative Burden of Air Pollution Exposure in the United States, 8 Int J Environ Res Public Health 1755 (2011).

[2] EPA Fact Sheet: Clean Power Plan Benefits (2014), https://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/fact-sheet-clean-power-plan-benefits; Union of Concerned Scientists, How Much Will the Clean Power Plan Cost? The benefits of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan far outweigh the costs (Aug. 5, 2015), available at http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/reduce-emissions/how-much-will-clean- power-plan-cost#.VvP5jOIrKUk

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