Martin Luther King III defends climate rules

Martin Luther King III defends climate rules
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A civil rights leader and son of the famed Martin Luther King Jr. is defending new climate regulations from attacks by a major black business group. 

In a Washington Post op-ed, Martin Luther King III pushed back against arguments from the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) opposing the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants. 

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“African Americans and all people of color can benefit greatly by supporting the Clean Power Plan, which will help reduce the impacts of climate change and expand the use of clean, renewable energy from the wind and sun,” King, the co-founder of the Drum Major Institute, wrote.

The NBCC, like the U.S. Chamber, has opposed the Clean Power Plan on the grounds that it will hurt jobs and businesses as states transition to cleaner energy mixes. 

The group put out a report in June targeting the plan, saying it would kill enough jobs to increase the poverty rate for blacks and Hispanics while cutting household incomes for both groups. Harry Alford, the group’s president and CEO, has testified before congressional committees about his group’s opposition to the rule. 

Supporters of the power plant regulations say the NBCC’s report is based on faulty analyses of the Clean Power Plan, which the Obama administration finalized this year. 

In his op-ed, King repeated that charge and plugged the rule as good for public health and the environment, arguing that black and minority communities will be hit hardest by climate change.

“Look at who suffered first and suffered the most after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans,” King wrote. “It was the communities — largely African American — in low-lying areas that got hit worst when the levees broke.”

Citing poll numbers, King said the rule has broad support among African-Americans.

“African Americans are not going to be fooled by any group supported by industrial polluters,” he wrote. “They know climate change is real and that we have to do something about it.”

The Clean Power Plan looks to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent by 2030. The rule is the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change agenda, but it has garnered opposition and a slew of lawsuits from businesses, states and commodity groups.