EPA proposes first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants

For Immediate Release

Providence, RI – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the largest single source of global warming pollution in America.

Environment Rhode Island enthusiastically applauded the proposed limits, which, once finalized, will be the largest step the U.S. has taken to combat global warming.

“This announcement is exactly what we’ve been waiting for,” said Channing Jones, campaign director of Environment Rhode Island. “This is America’s chance to lead and our best chance to give our children a legacy we can be proud of.”

Rhode Island’s U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse applauded EPA’s action in an op-ed on Sunday: “[Carbon pollution] has real, measurable costs for American citizens: damage to coastal homes and infrastructure from rising seas and erosion, asthma attacks in children triggered by smog, forests dying from beetle infestations and unprecedented wildfire seasons, farms ravaged by worsened drought and flooding.” [1]

The EPA’s federal action comes as the Rhode Island General Assembly considers its own complementary state-level policies to rein in dirty emissions and foster clean energy. For example, the Distributed Generation Growth Program (H7727/S2690), receiving a second round of committee hearings this week, would quintuple the size of the state’s cornerstone renewable energy program. In addition, comprehensive climate change legislation (H7904/S2952) would establish science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets while helping the state adapt to the changes in climate we're already seeing; the Senate version of the bill is scheduled for a second hearing this week as well.

Across the country, Americans have felt the consequences of global warming. Impacts seen in Rhode Island include record setting summer heat waves, floods like those experienced in 2010, storms like Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and sea level rise.

As stated in the National Climate Assessment released in May: “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” [2]

Until now, there have been no federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution power plants are permitted to spew into the atmosphere.

“EPA’s announcement is a huge win for the health of our families and our environment,” said Jones. “The dirty energy companies that oppose this move may question the science and predict economic apocalypse if we act. They can make up whatever claims they want. But a cleaner, more energy-efficient economy and environment is not going to undermine our prosperity. In fact, our kids' future depends on it.”

 

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[1] https://news.vice.com/article/get-ready-for-more-false-claims-by-big-pol...

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/science/earth/climate-change-report.html