Democratic governors cheer Obama’s action plan

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013

A group of Democratic governors yesterday lent their support to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, praising him in a letter for moving ahead with carbon dioxide reductions because “Congress has failed to take meaningful legislative action on this issue.”

“While too many still refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus of human-caused climate change, the devastating impacts of climate change in our states are all too real,” said the 14 governors.

They expressed particular support for the creation of a new Task Force on Climate Preparedness proposed in June as part of the president’s broader Climate Action Plan. The short-term task force will advise the administration on ways to help state and local communities improve climate resilience. The panel of local officials will recommend ways to improve the effectiveness of federal grant programs to states and tribes and to boost information sharing between layers of government.

The governors also praised the administration for its plans to promulgate greenhouse gas rules under the Clean Air Act. The president made power plant CO2 rules a centerpiece of his second-term climate change agenda, and states will play a leading role in implementing those rules.

Signatories touted states’ efforts to reduce emissions, including through the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and California’s carbon trading program, which was launched earlier this year.

The letter was signed by Govs. Jerry Brown of California, Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Daniel Malloy of Connecticut, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Jack Markell of Delaware, who represent six of the nine members of RGGI.

Other signatories included Govs. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Jay Inslee of Washington, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Pat Quinn of Illinois, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, John Kitzhaber of Oregon and John de Jongh of the U.S. Virgin Islands.