Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions

Support EPA in Slashing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Power Plants

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On October 23, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) heard public comments on a proposed rule to regulate carbon pollution from power plants. For the first time, the EPA would limit greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fueled power plants, which are the leading source of industrial carbon pollution in the nation and influence global climate change. CCE, along with dozens of nonprofits and concerned citizens, testified on the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on public health, the environment, and the economy. In New York City, residents spoke about the correlation between air pollution and respiratory problems, the threat of increased heat-related illness and death from hotter summers, the possibility of water and food shortages as a result of widespread drought, and the financial cost of protecting our shores and mainland against the devastating impacts of climate change.

We now know that human activities are contributing to global climate change, and we are already seeing the effects of sea level rise and changing weather patterns on New York and Connecticut. In New York, the sea level rose 10 inches during the last century, and it will continue to rise, causing beach erosion, flooding, degraded fisheries, impaired drinking water quality, and loss of wetlands. While this has certainly impacted the state environmentally and economically, the most visible and destructive indication of climate change is the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

Last year, the U.S. experienced twelve climate disasters, each causing at least a billion dollars of damage.  This included a yearlong drought and widespread crop failure in 22 states, western wildfires that burned over 9.2 million acres, and Superstorm Sandy, which devastated major population centers in the Northeast. One year after Sandy and two years after Hurricane Irene, we are still rebuilding and still planning how to undertake the massive and expensive infrastructure upgrades necessary to protect vulnerable areas against the next major weather event.

In the meantime, we should be preventing the CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions that are exacerbating the problem. This is one of those cases where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Fossil fueled power plants are a major source of pollution and a major contributor to climate change. It is unacceptable to allow these plants to pollute without limit, and it is time to implement strict emissions standards on all new and existing power plants.  The EPA has proposed a rule for new power plants, and plans to issue a proposal for existing plants next year.  Both efforts deserve strong public support.
Check the EPA website for more information about the EPA proposed rules or to submit comments in support of limiting emissions for new power plants.

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This entry was posted in Activism, Climate and Energy, Open Space and Wildlife, Public Health and Toxics, Water Protection and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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