Greens chide industry, boast 3M comments defending climate rule

Green groups submitted roughly 3.7 million comments to the administration in support of its signature climate rule on carbon pollution from power plants this week, according to a memo.

The memo, circulated by the Climate Action Campaign (CAC) communications staff, chides the oil and gas industry, arguing “they have long been in denial” over public support for cutting carbon pollution.

According to the memo from the Washington, D.C.-based coalition of national green groups, they turned in 3 million comments backing the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal.

That adds to the 1.9 million comments the EPA told the Climate Action Campaign the official count has now reached, and it's still counting.

It’s an unprecedented number of comments for the EPA, but expected given the controversy surrounding its proposal, which mandates the nation’s fleet of existing power plants cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Key groups that worked to collect the 3 million comments include the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Organizing for Action, according to the memo.

The Environmental Defense Fund led the pack, collecting 481,215 comments. The Natural Resources Defense Council and League of Conservation Voters each submitted more than 400,000 comments. 

The memo also boasts that greens have submitted a total of 8 million comments on the EPA proposals for new power plants and existing power plants combined, revealing what they call overwhelming support for regulations on carbon pollution.

Still, a number of oil and gas industry groups Republicans, and coal-reliant states are adamantly opposed to the rule for existing sources, arguing it will kill energy jobs, hurt the economy and raise electricity prices.

Two challenges to the rule have already been filed in court, but the EPA contends that it stayed within it legal authority when drafting the proposal.