The implications of the “Dirty Power” rule’s failure to achieve virtually any reductions in power plant emissions are serious. The International Energy Agency estimates that climate change pollution from the U.S. power sector must be reduced by 74 percent by 2030 below 2005 levels for the U.S. to be able to achieve the goal of limiting worldwide temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius. By the EPA’s own estimates, the “Dirty Power” rule falls woefully short of hitting this target with a projected reduction of only 35 percent from 2005 levels. Of that, only roughly one percent is attributable to the impact of the “Dirty Power” rule and 34 percent attributable to market factors.
Among the harms that Virginia specifically faces from increasing climate change are:
- Norfolk has experienced the equivalent of 18.2 inches of relative sea level rise in the past 100 years, compared with the global average of 7-8 inches since 1890
- Ordinary rain events now cause flooding in the streets of Norfolk, including large connector streets going underwater.
- Norfolk naval base, the largest navy base in the world, is currently replacing 14 piers due to sea level rise, at a cost of $35-40 million per pier.
- According to Old Dominion University’s Center for Sea Level Rise, the city of Norfolk alone will need at least $1 billion in the coming decades to replace current infrastructure and keep water out of city homes and businesses.
- According to a recent study by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, costs from three feet of sea-level rise in the Hampton Roads region are expected to range between $12 billion and $87 billion.
Previously, Attorney General Herring called on the EPA to abandon its proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan in extensive comments filed with the EPA.
Today’s suit was filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Attorney General Herring is joined in today’s suit by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, and the chief legal officers of Boulder, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and South Miami.