Public interest and environmental groups call for more aggressive EPA rule to curb carbon emissions
125 groups send letter to president outlining ways to strengthen proposal to curb climate change
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 100 groups today called for more aggressive action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants.
In a letter organized by the Climate Reality Check network to President Barack Obama, the groups said they support a rule proposed by the EPA in June but urged the president to strengthen it.
“The EPA’s proposed plan is a good start, but the science demands a more aggressive plan,” said Allison Fisher of Public Citizen, “The EPA can do better to benefit consumers, economy and the environment all while tackling climate disrupting emissions from our power sector.”
The EPA’s proposed rule, called the Clean Power Plan, calls for a reduction of carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Today is the deadline for the public to submit comments on it.
“We need a clean power plan that is truly clean by finally weaning our country off dangerous fossil fuels and toward solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity.
In the letter, the groups – which range from Environmental Justice to Consumer Advocacy to Faith – said that the Clean Power Plan:
- Must set more aggressive emissions reduction targets by increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewables;
- Should commit to equity, fairness and environmental justice by ensuring meaningful participation and engagement of impacted communities in the development and execution of state implementation plans;
- Should not encourage the replacement of one fossil fuel with another, like natural gas, which is a fossil fuel that emits greenhouse gas pollution when burned;
- Must protect low-income consumers;
- Should not encourage cap and trade, and must keep offsets out. Trading may offer cheaper compliance for polluters, but it means that communities disproportionately burdened by the dirtiest power plants continue to live with the health impacts of co-pollutants; and
- Should live up to the United States’ international obligations.
In addition, the groups said that solutions to reduce global warming pollution must not create or exacerbate other environmental and social problems.
“It is our hope that the agency includes language in the final rule that explicitly directs states to identify potential disparate impacts the rule might have on environmental justice communities, and create State Implementation Plans to address these concerns,” said Dr. Jalonne N. White-Newsome federal policy analyst at WE ACT, “With this rule, EPA has the opportunity to document their commitment to making equity and environmental justice an Agency Priority, not only for this rule but for many rules to come.”
“This letter is important because it reminds the president that he has taken an important step but that he must go further,’ said Friends of the Earth’s climate and energy director Benjamin Schreiber, “The benchmark on climate change must be what mother nature deems necessary, not the inactions of past administrations.”