Quantcast

Big Polluters Cry Wolf Over EPA Plan to Fight Climate Change and Protect Human Health

Climate

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host four public hearings on its plan to reduce climate change pollution from power plants. The speakers list is already filling up. Physicians will outline the health hazards linked to climate change. Farmers will talk about the challenges of raising crops in the face of extreme weather. And governors and mayors will describe the benefits of attracting clean energy investment to their communities.

Many people will testify in favor of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This should come as no surprise considering 7 in 10 Americans view global warming as a serious problem and want the federal government to reduce the pollution that causes it, according to a recent ABC News poll.

The truth of the matter is that the EPA’s plan will unleash innovation and clean up the air. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

But the hearings will also attract another group of speakers: representatives from the American Coal Council, Americans for Prosperity and other dirty industries.  

These big polluters oppose the EPA’s effort to rein in the largest source of carbon pollution in our nation. They would rather protect the carbon loophole than do what it takes to safeguard public health and stabilize the climate.

And some will resort to overblown claims that reducing pollution will lead to mass shutdowns and skyrocketing costs. How do I know? Because I’ve heard these claims over and over again. And every time, polluters were proven wrong.

Back when the EPA proposed phasing out ozone-depleting CFCs, the chemical industry howled that refrigerators would fail in America’s supermarkets, hospitals and schools. In fact, the phase-out happened five years ahead of schedule and cost 30 percent of what industry predicted. Our ozone layer is healing, preventing nearly 300 million cases of non melanoma skin cancer in America alone.

Getting toxic lead out of gasoline, the oil industry shouted, would cost a dollar a gallon. It turned out to cost just a penny a gallon to protect hundreds of thousands of kids from lead-induced brain damage.

And when the EPA decided to reduce acid rain pollution, utilities leaders called it a “tragic mistake.” Yet thanks to innovations, the cost of reducing acid rain pollution turned out to be about 80 percent lower than predicted. Meanwhile, the acid rain program generates $80 billion in health benefits every year and saves nearly 19,000 lives annually.

Now that our nation is finally holding dirty industries accountable for the worst pollution in America—pollution that increases the risk of asthma attacks, heart disease, lung cancer and causes climate change—big emitters are using the same Chicken Little playbook. And their claims are just as false.

The National Mining Association (NMA), for instance, is running ads saying home electric bills will “nearly double” if “extreme new power plant regulations take effect.” In fact, the EPA estimates that the carbon limits would decrease consumer electric bills by eight percent on average. The NMA assertions were so off the mark the Washington Post fact check called the ads “bogus” and assigned them “four pinocchios.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn’t faring much better. It released a report claiming carbon limits would cost $50 billion and kill 224,000 jobs, and Politi-Fact.com said it should be “taken with a rock-sized grain of salt.”

The truth of the matter is that the EPA’s plan will unleash innovation and clean up the air—just like previous public health standards. It will accelerate the move to a modern, clean energy system, and it could save U.S. families and businesses more than $37 billion on their electricity bills by 2020. It will also protect our health, air, water and communities in the process.

Big polluters are trying to drown those facts out. They have the money to spend on disinformation, but we have the people: the vast majority of Americans want the EPA to limit carbon pollution. Now we must raise our voices above the industry din. Click here to tell the EPA you support the strongest carbon limits possible.

You Might Also Like

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less