United States: S&W Lawyers Filed Legal Brief For Major Brand Companies Supporting EPA's Clean Power Plan

On April 1, 2016, Jerome C. Muys, Jr., Jeffrey M. Karp and Van P. Hilderbrand, Jr.  with the assistance of Morgan M. Gerard filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of Adobe Systems, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., Ikea North America Services LLC and Mars Incorporated in support of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP). The Motion and Brief, described the challenges that these major brands from diverse industries face in procuring low- and zero- greenhouse gas emitting energy, and the challenges that climate related risks pose to their businesses.

The following press release issued by Ceres is republished below.

Four global brand companies with significant energy footprints in nearly every state in the country are filing an amicus brief today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon pollution from the nation's electric sector.

The signatory companies include Adobe Systems Inc.; Mars Incorporated; IKEA North America Services, LLC; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.

Calling the economic risks from climate change "staggering" and citing precipitous drops in renewable energy costs, the diverse companies praise the EPA plan as a viable "national market solution" that will create market certainty and warn of "economic and social disruptions" if it is delayed.

"Companies currently are facing and will face future damage ... from rising sea levels and increasing intense weather events. They will also encounter climate-driven impacts to supply chains and agricultural production, as well as unreliable energy supply, decreased labor productivity and threats to public health," wrote the companies in a 30–page brief, among numerous legal filings from companies this week in favor of the rule. At the same time, "the costs of doing business without a national carbon mitigation strategy subjects the Amici companies to undesirable risks."

"(We) believe the Clean Power Plan, when fully implemented, would not cause business harm to (our) operations as large energy consumers and purchasers," the companies concluded. "Swift and full implementation of the Clean Power Plan will directly benefit the Amici companies' operations."

"The scale of the sustainability challenges in the world require bold commitments and bold action," said Rob Olson, Chief Financial Officer, IKEA North America Services, LLC. "IKEA supports long-lasting, robust policies like the Clean Power Plan, which encourage the innovation needed to grow a low-carbon economy."

"Mars takes climate change very seriously and believes the security of the world's food supply depends on it. We know we have a responsibility to mitigate the impact of our business on climate change, and we have committed to eliminating fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing our impact on water quality and availability, and mitigating the impacts of waste by 2040," said Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mars, Incorporated. "We know we can succeed faster toward these goals through collaboration with industry, government and non-government organizations, and with the timely implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan."

"Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is committed to reducing our own impact on the environment and creating healthy environments for our associates, members and communities," said Kyle Cahill, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Health at Blue Cross. "Implementing the Clean Power Plan will bring significant health benefits through improved air quality and helping to address climate change, one of our biggest public health threats today."

The brief, being filed in advance of key oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court on June 2, makes wide-ranging arguments in support of the EPA rule that was placed under "an emergency stay" by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. Among its key points:

  • Relying on traditional fossil fuel power generation is increasingly unattractive to businesses due to its high carbon footprint, consequences to air quality and volatile fossil fuel prices. Renewable energy costs, on the other hand, are falling precipitously and provide more price certainty in the long term since the fuel source is free, making this a mutually beneficial energy source for industry and the planet on which we work and live.
  • Uncertainty around the Clean Power Plan and the future of high-emitting fuel sources, both domestically and globally, makes long-term business planning a "difficult challenge" and unnecessarily prolongs strains on the environment.
  • Most of the country's largest U.S. businesses, including all of the signatories, have set specific goals to boost renewable energy use in order to "cut costs and hedge the risks of relying on entirely on increasingly volatile fossil fuels." Keeping the Clean Power Plan on track will stimulate more renewable investments, "long-term price certainty" and improve the quality of public health in the long run. 

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