Governor Mike Pence and other Hoosier leaders are lauding a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The high court ruled Tuesday to temporarily halt enforcement of the regulations aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
The decision means one of the signature elements of President Barack Obama’s environmental initiatives will be on hold as litigation continues. In October, Indiana was one of around two dozen states to file suit against the EPA to try and stop the new rules.
Pence calls the Clean Power Plan an "anti-coal" measure. In a statement Tuesday, the governor said:
Hoosiers know that coal means jobs and low-cost energy for our state, and tonight’s Supreme Court decision to put President Obama’s carbon dioxide regulations on hold is a win for Indiana. The Clean Power Plan exceeds the authority granted to the EPA under the Clean Air Act, and I am pleased that it will not be enforced while the lawsuit filed by Indiana and 28 other states and state agencies moves through the courts. Hoosiers may be assured that our state will continue to use every legal means available to fight President Obama’s war on coal.
Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) has long opposed the regulations as well. Coats called the EPA restrictions "heavy-handed" and said "the Supreme Court’s stay of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan sends a critical signal that the EPA cannot overreach its authority. This rule will cause irreparable harm to Hoosiers and our economy and is a clear example of executive overreach under this president."
A notice from the White House Office of the Press Secretary said the plan is "based on a strong legal and technical foundation, gives States the time and flexibility they need to develop tailored, cost-effective plans to reduce their emissions, and will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country, and major progress in our efforts to confront the risks posed by climate change."
The rule calls for power plants to reduce emissions by around one-third by 2030.
Pence estimated last year that some 28,000 Hoosiers are directly or indirectly tied to the state’s coal industry. A vast majority of electricity in Indiana is produced by coal-fired facilities.
Reliance on coal power throughout the state is slowing some. In recent years, energy producers have begun turning toward natural gas, solar and wind power projects throughout the state. Not all attempts have been successful.
Activity at several southwest Indiana coal mines have also ceased, leaving hundreds without jobs. Other initiatives, including a Ball State University move in 2014 to shut down its coal-fired boilers, have also aimed at moving toward alternative heating and electricity-producing methods.