To the Editor:
On Sept. 27, 2016, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments on the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the most significant step our country has ever taken to address climate change. The CPP, which has been attacked in the courts by polluters and their political allies, will save lives, create new opportunities in communities across the country, help strengthen our economy, and bolster U.S. global leadership. Oral arguments will reveal the truth – that the CPP is consistent with the law, earlier court precedents, and other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs. Given the extraordinary threat posed by climate change, the stakes simply couldn’t be higher for our environment, our economy, and the next generation. Climate change is an urgent threat – and the Clean Power Plan is the most significant step our country has ever taken to address it.
The environmental and public health impacts of climate change are of great concern. Additionally, climate change could also take a toll on our economy—from harming outdoor tourism and threatening coastal communities with sea level rise. The tourism and travel industry is Virginia’s 5th largest employer, supports 287,700 jobs and more than $7.5 billion in payrolls in 2010. The leading travel and tourist destinations for the Commonwealth are in Northern Virginia in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, near the nation’s capital. This industry is at risk as climate change threatens many vacation destinations and natural areas in Fairfax, like Great Falls, Pohick Bay, and Mason Neck. These areas also support other jobs and industries like public
transportation, restaurants, retail shops.
On three separate occasions, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld EPA’s authority and responsibility under the Clean Air Act to protect human health and welfare by limiting carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan will save lives, create new opportunities in communities across the country, and help strengthen our economy.