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25 Diverse Business Groups Defend Clean Power Plan

For Immediate Release: 
March 31, 2016

Court Brief Says Plan Protects Businesses and Economy from Climate Change

Contact Info
Bob Keener

Washington, DC (March 31, 2016) — Today, 25 business groups, representing a broad range of industries and regions nationwide, announced that they are filing a friend of the court brief (an “amicus brief”) in support of the national Clean Power Plan, the strongest action to-date for addressing climate change.

In their brief, the groups say that unrestrained climate change will burden national, state and local economies with increased costs and business disruptions from droughts, flooding, reduced agriculture productivity, extreme weather, rising seas, and other disturbances. In addition they point out that the Clean Power Plan will boost economic growth by generating new market-based solutions and new jobs in renewable energy.

The Clean Power Plan has been challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Given the current vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and the potential for a 4-4 deadlock, the decision of the Circuit Court takes on greater importance.

Leading the groups is the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which has a membership network spanning more than 200,000 businesses. Richard Eidlin, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns, said: “This powerful coalition of business organizations believes that the Clean Power Plan is our country’s best current hope for addressing climate change – a major threat to all businesses. It calls for significant reductions of greenhouse gases and wisely provides states abundant flexibility in how to cut emissions. This enables states to take advantage of developing trends, such as in renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Also signing the brief to the court is the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., which represents 240,000 businesses through its more than 100 chapters. Ron Busby, President and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., said, "The U.S. Black Chambers supports the Clean Power Plan because it creates new opportunities for individuals and businesses to run their companies more efficiently while sustaining the environment. The Clean Power Plan is a step in the right direction and it provides incentives to reduce carbon emissions, which ultimately leads to a healthier environment and healthier communities."

The 25 groups signing the brief include national groups such as Green America and regional groups such as the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-director of Green America, said, “Far-sighted business leaders recognize the value of the Clean Power Plan and understand that greenhouse gas emissions must be sharply cut to protect human and environmental health and our nation’s economic competitiveness. Our economic viability absolutely depends on shifting to a clean energy economy.”

Frank Knapp Jr., President and CEO, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of ASBC, said, “Business organizations that oppose the Clean Power Plan are doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry. Real world experience tells us that implementing the Plan will create jobs and grow our economy. Its decentralized approach allows each state to decide how best to reduce carbon pollution. It protects our nation’s economy from the disastrous effects of unrestrained climate change -- including the dire consequences to my state’s tourism economy.”

"It's no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most important cases in the history of United States law," said Steve Harvey, an attorney from Philadelphia who represents ASBC and SCSBCC.  "The Clean Power Plan is the most significant effort by the United States to tackle one of its, and the world's, biggest problems."

Business groups signing the amicus brief include:

American Sustainable Business Council
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
Green America
Business and Labor Coalition of New York
CABA (Climate Action Business Association, New England)
Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce (Kansas)
Idaho Clean Energy Association
Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium
Kentucky Sustainable Business Council
Local First Arizona
Local First Ithaca
Lowcountry Local First (South Carolina)
Metro Independent Business Alliance (Minneapolis)
Ohio Sustainable Business Council
National Small Business Network
New York State Sustainable Business Council
P3 Utah
Pioneer Valley Local First
Small Business Minnesota
Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia
Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts
Sustainable Furnishings Council
West Virginia Sustainable Business Council

Polling of small business owners shows they expect to suffer economic harm if the Clean Power Plan does not survive the legal challenges:

  • Majorities of business owners said they were concerned about “carbon pollution” (57 percent) and “climate change” (53 percent).
  • More than half of all business owners (53 percent) believe climate change will adversely affect their business. Of that, 19 percent - nearly one in five - say that extreme weather events associated with climate change already have affected their operations.
  • A clear majority, 64 percent, say that government regulation is needed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
  • 57 percent say that the biggest emitters, like power plants, should make the most significant cuts in carbon emissions, rather than have all businesses cut emissions equally.

Poll results may be found here:

The appeals court is set to hear oral argument in the case on June 2, 2016, with a decision expected later this year. The case will almost certainly proceed to the United States Supreme Court, with an ultimate decision in 2017. Read the brief:

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 200,000 businesses and more than 325,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers and investors.