Clean Air Coming Soon!
The new year is here, and the Environmental Protection Agency is sticking to its resolutions by kicking off 2014 with some major climate action.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency has taken another step forward in protecting American families and environmental health by publishing its proposed standards to limit toxic carbon pollution from new power plants in The Federal Register, the government's official newspaper, starting off a 60-day period for public comment.
Power plants are responsible for much of our country's air pollution. In fact, coal- and gas-fired plants emit more than 2.3 billion metric tons of carbon pollution, the main contributor to climate disruption. These dangerous emissions make their way into our air, food, and bodies, threatening the health of our children and communities.
By establishing strong carbon pollution protections, the EPA is acting on President Obama's pledge to take action on climate disruption. These protections will help us clean up and modernize the way we power our country -- a move that will make for healthier kids, families, and workers, while creating badly needed jobs, fighting climate disruption, and keeping America competitive in the global economy. Several states and foreign countries already have limits on carbon pollution from new power plants, including Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, Illinois, Maine, Australia, and the European Union. It's time for the first-ever national standards for coal- and gas-fired plants to be set in place.
These carbon pollution standards will be a powerful tool to keep our air clean, but they could be even better. These standards should control carbon pollution from natural gas plants, just as we're doing for coal. If implemented, the current proposed standards would not require any reduction in carbon pollution from the majority of planned new gas plants. We cannot keep giving a free pass to natural gas -- more gas in the electricity sector means more fracking and pollution that contributes to rising global temperatures.
The EPA has taken some important first steps, but now it's your turn to take action. The fossil fuel industry and its political allies are doing everything they can to block the EPA's efforts, but you can push back and make your opinion count.
The official public comment period starts today and won't last long. Make your voice heard by submitting a comment here to the EPA in support of strong standards for reducing dangerous carbon pollution from toxic coal- and gas-fired power plants today. Together, we can make 2014 the cleanest year for energy yet!
-- Rudhdi Karnik, Beyond Coal Media Assistant