For Earth Day today, more than 80 members of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network – the first and only national network of young progressive leaders at every level of elected office – released the following statement in support of the Clean Power Plan and the goal of 50% clean energy by 2030:
The Young Elected Officials Network is committed to ensuring a sustainable future for our families, our communities, and our planet. Climate change is a crisis that demands a policy response and urgent action. The United States has a responsibility to cut back on its carbon emissions and secure a path toward a clean energy future. As young people, we will be forced to deal with the consequences of inaction, and as elected officials, we see how important addressing this crisis immediately is for the health, security, and prosperity of everyone we represent. Though climate change is a global issue, its effects are especially pronounced for communities of color, low-income families, and Indigenous communities. Power plants are often located near these communities and threaten those families with respiratory disease, heart attack, and premature death – along with a host of other environmental and socioeconomic impacts.
As leaders of states and municipalities across the country, we support the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) which takes critical steps to addressing the unfolding climate crisis. The CPP lays out a flexible blueprint for states to achieve significant reductions in their emissions. The CPP is critical to meeting our commitments to greenhouse gas reductions made at COP21, and to being a responsible member of the international community. It is tied to our national security, our economic growth and sustainability, as well as our health and well-being. While the Supreme Court has issued a stay on the CPP, we call for its implementation and for state and local leaders to take action to further its goals. Furthermore, during this time of transition, we call on all leaders to place environmental and economic justice at the forefront of the CPP’s design and implementation and to commit to equity for the marginalized communities who have borne—and continue to bear—the brunt of so much environmental degradation.
We are committed to sourcing our electricity from renewable sources—not from nuclear, natural gas, or other fossil fuels—and we believe that a new energy economy built around clean power will generate jobs and prosperity for our communities. To that end, we are committed to sourcing 50 percent of the nation’s power with clean energy by the year 2030. The CPP makes this goal an entirely achievable one, and will result in cleaner, cheaper, more reliable power.
This statement was organized by the elected officials who participated in the Young Elected Officials Network’s Clean Energy & Environmental Justice Policy Academy – which launched in Denver, Colorado this February – as part of their ongoing efforts to promote environmental justice.