Last month, our state’s Attorney General added Louisiana to the list of 11 other states in a lawsuit against the EPA over the proposed Clean Power Plan. The lawsuit is frivolous at best, and will most certainly be thrown out, as the proposal has not been passed, and is still only in draft form. The suit is also precariously balanced on an old error in the statutory language, which you can dig into here. It is frustrating to watch Louisiana’s leaders fight the EPA over the new Plan. These proposed rules have the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of all Americans, as carbon pollution is responsible for serious health issues and is a major factor in the cause of sea-level rise, wiping out whole communities along our vulnerable coast.
Coal, the dirtiest energy polluter, has been front and center during conversations about the plan, and states like West Virginia have been noisy opponents of the proposal. Louisiana is certainly not coal country, and we generate only about 12% of our energy from coal, with the vast majority coming from natural gas. Louisiana’s investor owned utilities are rolling out new energy efficiency programs in October, and we are in a prime position to utilize renewable energy sources including wind, hydro, and solar. Since the announcement of the Plan, other countries, including China, have begun to discuss their own plans for carbon emissions reductions. We can no longer point at other countries and blame our continued use of antiquated energy generation on them, saying, “they do it too!” It’s not a playground and we need to be adults.
What is most ridiculous about the largely symbolic lawsuit against the EPA is that Louisiana doesn’t need to sue our way out of responsibility and progress. Our elected leaders are fighting against our citizens’ health and security, while energy efficiency measures and renewables are ready and waiting to help us meet the proposed limits. The US cannot keep saying it is a leader, if we do not choose to lead. Louisiana should not continue to say it is an energy state, if we do not lead on energy policy that is good for everyone.