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June 13, 2013

Five Senators Urge President Obama To Address Climate Change with Tough Standards on Carbon From Power Plants

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Extreme weather is here once again. As I type this blog the threat of a major storm and possible derecho wind storm are causing many offices in Washington D.C. and the Federal Government to close early. Meanwhile four Western states are currently battling large raging wildfires fire because of the hot and dry conditions.

As the the impacts of climate change grow more severe, the pressure mounts on President Obama to address climate change by curbing the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions: coal-fired power plants.  Today, five senators from mid-Atlantic States -- Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Charles Schumer (NY), Kristen Gillibrand (NY), Chris Murphy (CT) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) took a stand on this issue by urging President Obama to fulfill his obligation to address the causes of climate change and set tough standards to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.   The Senators represent communities that were hit hard by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and inflicted massive damage to transit systems, infrastructures, and coastlines.

Senate-Climate-LetterIn April, the Obama administration missed a key deadline for finalizing carbon pollution standards from new power plants. The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set carbon pollution reduction standards for major emitters, and in 2012 the agency proposed standards that limit carbon pollution from new power plants. These first-ever standards would assure that new power plants not be built unless they could control and significantly limit their carbon pollution. Setting the standard for new power plants will also trigger the Agency’s requirement to set carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. Unfortunately, the EPA has missed its April 13, 2013 deadline to finalize the proposed rule, leaving the fate of these critical safeguards up in the air.

This past weekend the Obama administration and China agreed to limit hydrofluorocarbons in the two countries, and President Obama's top climate adviser said yesterday that the White House would follow that announcement with other major steps to curb greenhouse gases at home and internationally.  We must dramatically reduce carbon emissions and we urge President Obama and the EPA to finalize safeguards for coal plant carbon pollution as soon as possible. We also thank Senator Menendez and his mid-Atlantic colleagues for their strong leadership on this critical issue. 

--Liz Perera, Senior Washington Representative, Sierra Club

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