Monday, February 15, 2016

Supreme Court order blocking power-plant rules is bad for rural areas, policy analyst argues

The Supreme Court's order blocking the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan while a lower appellate court rules on it "is a short-term gain for the fossil-fuel industry and a long-term loss for rural communities," Tara Ritter of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy argues in the Daily Yonder. She writes:
Tara Ritter
"Rural communities are disproportionately affected by climate change, and as such, will suffer the most while decisive action on climate change is delayed. Rural communities are more likely to have natural resource-based economies than urban communities. Those will become less stable as climate change worsens. In addition, poverty rates are higher and housing stock is older on average in rural communities, which means that many rural residents spend a larger percentage of their income on energy costs. This will be exacerbated as heating and cooling needs increase in the face of more extreme temperatures and weather events. . . .

"It’s often assumed that rural communities oppose action on climate change, but that narrative oversimplifies the diverse range of perspectives held in rural America. Many rural communities, such as the cities of Morris and Grand Rapids in Minnesota, are already focused on building local resilience by addressing climate change. In addition, a group of rural leaders and organizations released a policy document last year outlining priorities for addressing climate change in rural communities. The document emphasizes clean energy and community-based energy projects, as well as energy efficiency initiatives and assistance for rural communities to transition away from extraction-based economies. The Clean Power Plan is an opportunity to fulfill these recommendations, and the Supreme Court’s decision stands in the way of what many rural residents want."

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