Minneapolis joins legal effort backing EPA’s Clean Power Plan

The City of Minneapolis and a dozen other cities have joined a legal motion supporting President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan — the nation’s first effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

A coalition of 26 states has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to halt the plan from being implemented.

Obama and EPA Gina McCarthy announced the new carbon pollution standards for power plants in August. The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. States will develop their own plans to meet the standards.

Minneapolis has joined the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities and several cities in filing a motion in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit supporting the Clean Power Plan.

Mayor Betsy Hodges said “cities are the forefront in the battle against climate change.”

“We feel the greatest impact but we are also the most equipped to take action,” she said. “In Minneapolis we are leading the way, proactively working toward aggressive carbon emission reduction goals. Implementation of the Clean Power Plan will give other cities the tools and framework to help them take the necessary steps to combat this global problem.”

The world’s cities contribute 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a United Nations’ report.

The other cities that have joined the motion include Baltimore, Md.; Coral Gables, Fla.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Houston, Texas; Jersey City, N.J.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Pinecrest, Fla.; Providence, R.I.; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, Calif.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Boulder County, Co.

Clarence Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities, said cities are leading the way on confronting climate change by moving toward renewable energy and improving energy efficiency in their buildings, among other things.

“But cities can’t solve the problem of climate change alone, and we need the federal government to partner in and support the effort. The Clean Power Plan will ensure that the U.S. meets its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Minneapolis has also signed onto the Compact of Mayors launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Michael Bloomberg, the U.N. Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. Participating cities must have climate action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a system to measure progress.

The City of Minneapolis’ Climate Action Plan sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 using 2006 levels as a baseline.