Green America Supports The Direction Of EPA’s New Carbon Standard For Existing Power Plants; Calls For Tougher Stance On Cap & Trade

Source: Photographer

Power plant regulations will significantly reduce carbon and other pollutants and help grow the green economy

June 2, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 2, 2014 - Green America supports today’s announcement by the EPA that it plans to cut carbon emissions from existing coal fired power plants by 30% by 2030 from 2005 levels. The announcement follows an earlier EPA proposal from September, 2013, aimed at reducing emissions from proposed power plants, which Green America also supports. Green America represents 200,000 individuals and over 3,000 businesses nationwide.

Currently, the United States emits CO2 at a rate 15% lower than it did in 2005. The EPA’s proposed rules offer states a flexible phase-in period to determine the best method of implementing the emissions limits. Under the proposed regulations, states will have until June of 2016 to submit a state implementation plan, or SIP, outlining how they will reduce their carbon emissions by the required amount. If the states fail to submit a plan, the EPA will have the authority to provide one for them.

While the rules could mean increased operating and retrofitting costs for existing coal-fired power plants, the projected economic benefits of the rules far outweigh the burdens placed on the coal industry. The EPA projects that limiting carbon pollution and subsequent climate change could prevent as much as 6,600 deaths, 150,000 asthma attacks, and 490,000 missed school and work days. The savings in infrastructural and health benefits as a result of the rules could total close to $93 billion. “Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, economy, and way of life,” says EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.

“The combined economic benefits of domestic clean energy and reduced public health and infrastructure costs are significantly higher than the losses incurred by the users of dated energy technologies that produce such large amounts of CO2,” says Green America’s policy director, Fran Teplitz. “That is why businesses across the country welcome the EPA’s new rules; clean energy is good for the economy and good for business.

The rules provide incentives for states to cut down on carbon pollution and to ramp up their use of clean energy technologies with long track records of job creation in states where they are already embraced,” stated Green America’s corporate responsibility director, Todd Larsen. “These rules will help to establish the United States as a leader in clean energy technologies that will create economic benefits for decades to come.

Green America also called on the EPA to ensure that the new carbon rules did not give a free pass for polluters or allow low-income communities to continue to bear the brunt of pollution. “Our nation needs to make a priority of ensuring that the cap and trade provisions of the new EPA standard are not used by large corporations to continue polluting -- essentially enabling them to pay for permits in lieu of ever cleaning up pollution,” stated Fran Teplitz. “This “loophole” happens countless times world-wide and should not be construed as an effective carbon reduction strategy. Our nation will only be served well over the long term by climate and energy policies that address the needs of low income communities and communities of color where most power plants are situated.

Green America also encourages the EPA to go even further in regulating carbon. While the proposed rules are certainly a step in the right direction in regards to coal-fired power, it remains imperative that the EPA continue to use its authority to regulate greenhouse gases from all major sources of runaway greenhouse gases. Energy producers will continue to turn to natural gas as a major source of fuel in the short term, and the EPA can do more to regulate natural gas emissions from production to combustion as well.

About Green America

Green America is a national membership organization that works to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Green America has a Green Business Network of 3,000 businesses screened for their social and environmental impacts.