Edison International: It’s time to act like a clean energy leader

by Kelly Mitchell

April 9, 2012

Communities in Chicago scored a massive victory earlier this year, when Edison International agreed to shut down the Fisk and Crawford coal plants. That same day, the company announced it would cede control of the Homer City coal plant in Pennsylvania and declared the Waukegan coal plant north of Chicago worthless.

Edisons regulated utility, Southern California Edison, is already the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the country, and endorsed the states ambitious 33% renewable energy standard.

In the coming months, Edison will decide if its ready to cross the finish line and become a real clean energy leader or if it will keep one foot in the past and continue investing in some of the oldest and dirtiest coal plants in the county.

One important test of Edison Internationals vision and leadership is playing out in the case of EME Homer City LP v EPA. Last summer, EPA issued the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), a rule that could save up to 34,000 lives ever year by limiting dangerous SO2 and NOx pollution. Edison subsidiary, EME Homer City, was the first company to challenge this rule. In response to this and other similar challenges, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a stay, delaying implementation of this long-overdue clean air rule.

The court will hear oral arguments on Friday, April 13th.

Edisons continued participation in this challenge is puzzling. Given the companys rhetoric on clean energy leadership, it has no place delaying clean air for half the country to protect the interests of a coal plant it has already written off.

Today, Greenpeace called on Edison International to withdraw from EME Homer City LP v EPA and support federal health and environmental standards. See letter text below.

Dear Mr. Craver,

On Friday, the US District Court will hear oral arguments in the case EME Homer City L.P. v EPA. Your subsidiary, EME Homer City, was the first company to challenge the long-overdue Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSPAR), forcing a stay by the court.

Greenpeace calls on Edison International to instruct EME Homer City LP to drop its challenge to CSAPR in advance of oral arguments on April 13, 2012.

CSAPR will protect thousands of Americans from dangerous sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution. Thousands public comments were submitted on this important rule, calling for strict pollution limits.

Edison International has taken several important steps toward becoming a clean energy leader. Your regulated utility company, Southern California Edison (SCE), purchases more renewable energy than any other American utility company. In response to state environmental laws, you are phasing out coal from the SCE portfolio. Your company endorsed Californias 33% renewable energy standard the strongest in the nation. And finally, your merchant operation has taken promising steps by setting retirement dates for the Fisk and Crawford coal plants, ceding control of the Homer City coal plant, and launching the Capistrano Partners wind development project.

Given your stated commitment to environmental stewardship, and your exit from Homer City, your challenge to CSAPR is puzzling. According to EPA data, this rule could save up to 34,000 lives and prevent 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma annually. Yet, you have taken action to delay clean air for half the country to protect the interests of a coal plant you have already written off.

This rule will save lives, protect the environment, and create much-needed jobs for our economy.

Live up to your own rhetoric of clean energy leadership. Withdraw from EME Homer City LP v EPA and pledge your commitment to support federal health and environmental standards.

We look forward to your response.

Gabriel Wisneiwski

Coal Campaign Director


Kelly Mitchell

By Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell is the Climate and Energy Campaign Director for Greenpeace, based in Chicago. Since 2006, she has worked with activists and organizations across the country to confront corporate polluters and transform U.S. energy policy. She currently leads Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy, pushing some of the largest companies in the world to embrace wind and solar and working alongside communities to develop a just and democratic energy system.

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