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June 02, 2014

EPA Carbon Standards Give Our Kids a Fighting Chance

 

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As dire warnings from climate scientists continue to escalate and what were once rare extreme weather events become increasingly common, we at the Sierra Club applaud today's announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency outlining its proposed protections from dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants. These standards won't just take a big bite out of climate disruption, they’ll also help us tackle other serious power plant pollution that threatens our health, air and water - pollutants including soot, smog, and mercury.

I've been thinking about this news all weekend, and I keep coming back to one thing - this new standard gives my daughter, and all today's kids, a fighting chance at a safe and promising future. We are the last generation of people who have the chance to turn the corner on climate disruption. I want my daughter and all kids to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water, to enjoy snow days and fishing trips. I don't want them to face more massive wildfires, droughts, superstorms, food insecurity, breakdowns in infrastructure, and all the other unthinkable outcomes that our climate crisis could bring. As parents, we all want a better life for our children, and we now have to stand together to deliver that for them.

For decades, dirty power plants have been allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, making them our single biggest source of the pollution that's pushing our climate to the brink. Right now air pollution is making our children sick and costing us billions of dollars every year. Some dirty and desperate polluting companies would like to keep it that way, which is why they're spending big to try and stop these standards from getting across the finish line. We need to join together and make our voices heard in support of these new standards, which you can do right here.
 
These costs -- to our health and our wallets -- will only grow unless we act. Climate and weather disasters cost the US $100 billion in 2012 alone, according to the EPA, the second most expensive year in US history for natural disasters.
 
Curbing dangerous carbon pollution from power plants will save billions of dollars (up to $93 billion, to be exact) - but more than that, it will save lives. The new standard is poised to prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children. EPA's new safeguards will also spur innovation and accelerate the clean energy economy to create good American jobs.
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That's why the Sierra Club and our 2.4 million members and supporters stand with President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's in their action to cut harmful carbon pollution. We’ll do everything we can to ensure a strong and just standard to save lives, boost the clean energy economy, and help American families thrive.

I’ll write more in the coming days about the specifics of the standard, and how far it goes in moving the needle on climate change and air pollution. But big polluters are wasting no time in trying to stop these standards in their tracks, so let's join together today and make one thing crystal clear - Americans want to turn the corner on climate disruption, we want safe air and water for our kids, and we want action now!
 
I encourage you to contact your governor and other elected officials. Urge them to support EPA's carbon pollution standards for power plants and put strong state plans in place to implement the standards, to give our kids a fighting chance and a safe and promising future.
 
-- Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign

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