Mixed Feelings after AEP v. Connecticut Ruling

Posted on June 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Here at Clean Currents we stay on top of anything in the energy policy arena. When the news broke about the AEP v. Connecticut ruling our conversations about case came back to the same basic word – difficult. This is an extremely tough situation. The basic premise of the lawsuit was: should states be allowed to sue power companies for the damage their greenhouse gas emissions have done to their land and citizens in the form of global warming? The states sued on the same idea that allows you to sue your neighbor for contaminated water seepage on your property. The answer came back, unanimously, in favor of the power companies. Though we are not exactly at ease with brown power getting yet another break from government, we understand this one. It is essentially impossible to measure who the exact perpetrator of global warming is. Truthfully, though brown power has a huge role in the emission of greenhouse gasses, but so do thousands of other industries, not to mention cars. This becomes even more complicated when one factors in all the other countries in the world that are also responsible for the phenomenon.

However, the case was not all bad. There was a lot of discussion about the  ramifications of carbon emissions and though the energy companies technically won the lawsuit, another winner also emerged, the EPA. States not being able to regulate carbon emissions means that the EPA has more power to step in to do the job. The agency has already proposed limits on green house gases (GHG) starting this year. However, at the moment, these limits are only in place for newer, modified power plants, not the older dirtier plants which were originally targeted by the lawsuit. Still, this is a step in the right direction.

There is a serious problem with the EPA being the sole regulator of GHG’s. The EPA is a government agency and its management is appointed. This mean that a new political administration could drastically reduce the effectiveness of the EPA’s regulating power. However, at least for the moment this can also be seen as a good thing since it clearly defines who is in charge of dealing with GHG issues. The ideas behind the case are very provoking though, since there are serious questions that will soon have to be addressed about GHG emissions and whether contributing enormously or at all to global warming is legally a crime.

This argument is something we at clean currents take seriously every day as we try help the our constituents leave as little of a carbon footprint as possible through providing clean, renewable wind power. However we understand this is not enough, so we strive to cut down carbon emissions in our company and with our customers by encouraging things such as carpooling, and energy efficient light bulbs. We understand that though choosing a clean energy provider can make a large difference in the world, it is going to take more than that to win the battle against climate change.

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