Experts Hail New Carbon Pollution Standards at EPA Hearing
Three Natural Resources Defense Council experts are scheduled to testify today at a public hearing here convened by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed rule to limit to industrial carbon pollution from new power plants.
Below are statements by Dan Lashof and David Doniger in the Natural Resource Defense Council's (NRDC) Climate and Clean Air Program, and Kim Knowlton in NRDC’s Global Warming and Health Project:
“Power plants are America’s largest source of carbon pollution, so there is simply no question that carbon dioxide from power plants endangers public health and welfare. Given that, EPA is simply doing its job by moving forward with common-sense standards to limit carbon pollution standards from power plants. These standards are long overdue.
“Improving and finalizing this proposal is a critical step toward creating an electricity system we can all live with. After all, electricity customers are also breathers. We need a reliable electric system—but a system that destabilizes our climate is not something we can rely on.”
—Dan Lashof, program director of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Air program
“Climate change is an urgent public health concern. Many Americans have had personal experiences with extreme weather in recent years that brought home some of the damaging effects and high costs of a changing climate. Many of these extreme events are influenced by climate change, which is loading the weather dice and contributing to some of the most harmful health conditions we face—including increased ozone pollution, lethal, extreme heat, floods and droughts.
“To avoid the unmanageable effects of climate change, limiting carbon pollution is critical. Supporting the New Source Performance Standard places national limits on industrial carbon pollution and is a significant milestone to prevent more potentially disastrous health effects of climate change.”
—Kim Knowlton, senior scientist, Global Warming and Health Project
“The carbon pollution standard is another important step that EPA has taken under President Obama to clean up and modernize the nation’s most polluting sector: the power plants that provide our electricity.
“Carbon pollution imposes staggering health costs by worsening dangerous air pollution and driving increasingly extreme weather. Power plants have long topped the list of industrial sources whose pollution endangers public health and welfare.
“Market realities have already driven decisions on new power plants away from coal. Power companies simply aren’t planning to build new coal plants due to the availability of low-cost natural gas, strong growth in wind and solar power, and big opportunities to improve energy efficiency.
“The new standard only reinforces what most power company executives and investors already understand—that carbon pollution and climate change are serious concerns, and that if and when underlying market economics support a comeback for new coal-fired power plants, they will need to be designed to capture their carbon and keep it out of the air.”
—David Doniger, policy director, Climate and Clean Air program
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By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.