Georgia, U.S. Leaders, Advocates Praise EPA Clean Power Plan
(APN) ATLANTA — Yesterday, Monday, August 03, 2015, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final Clean Power Plan, or rule that is intended to turn the tide on climate change.
It will cut U.S. carbon pollution from the power sector by 870 million tons, or 32 percent below 2005 levels, in 2030.
Emission of sulfur dioxide from power plants will be 90 percent lower and emission of nitrogen oxides will be 72 percent lower, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030, as a result of the new plan.
Fossil fuel-fired plants use natural gas, petroleum, and coal; and are the largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the U.S. These uses account for about 82 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emission from human activities. Until today, there were no national limits on carbon pollution.
The Clean Power Plan will give future generations a cleaner, safer, and healthier future It is estimated to prevent up to 90,000 asthma attacks in children, prevent 1,700 non fatal hearts, and 3,600 premature deaths.
The Plan was the result of outreach to communities and over 4.3 million public comments, and hundreds of meetings with stakeholders, several meetings which were covered by Atlanta Progressive News.
The Plan is designed to strengthen the trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting energy. It is flexible with customized goals for states to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change. It works by building on strategies states and businesses are already using.
Today, the U.S. uses three times more wind and twenty times more solar energy than it did in 2009. It safeguards energy reliability by setting achievable state-by-state goals that build on a growing clean energy economy and gives states and utilities the time and flexibility to wean themselves from the dirty energy sector.
It will boost the economy by continuing to lower the costs of renewal energy which will create tens of thousands of jobs, leading to 30 percent more renewable energy generation in 2030. The EPA estimates the Plan will deliver annual benefits of up to 93 billion dollars by 2030.
The consensus of the world’s foremost scientific experts is that human industrial activities are causing climate change, based on extensive data, including millions of measurements collected over the course of decades on land, in air, at sea, and even from space.
Unchecked carbon pollution could lead to a further rising of global temperatures, which contributes to melting the Arctic ice and raising sea levels around the world.
It causes changes in weather and rain patterns, producing extreme hurricanes, tornados, floods, freezing temperatures, heat waves, and droughts.
Environmental organizations across the country support the Clean Power Plan, and several groups, along with various elected officials, issued statements in support:
“Until today, there were no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that power plants could dump into our air, threatening our health and communities,” Colleen Kieran, Director of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club stated in a press release.
“Georgia now has an historic opportunity to move from being home to the nation’s biggest carbon polluter, Plant Scherer, to being the number one state for solar and clean energy jobs,” Kieran said.
“Cracking down on coal and gas while ramping up wind, solar, and other clean energy sources will protect our families’ health today and ensure a safer climate for the future,” Jennette Gayer, Environment Georgia’s Director, said.
“The Southeast is especially vulnerable to climate disruption, given our region’s vast low-lying coastline and already warm annual temperatures,” Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said.
“In addition, EPA has gone out of its way to ensure this plan is flexible by providing multiple strategies for compliance as well as a long timeline to achieve compliance for each state’s plan,” Dr. Smith added.
“This is the most significant action yet from the Obama administration, but it’s still not enough to secure his climate legacy. Cutting coal emissions is low hanging fruit, the next challenge will be standing up to Big Oil… like rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, ending fracking, and preventing Arctic and offshore drilling,” May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org, said in a press release.
The Beyond Coal Campaign put out a petition online to tell one’s U.S. Senators and Representatives to support the Clean Power Plan, not the big polluters.
Many elected officials are celebrating the Clean Power Plan.
“This rule is such an important step forward for our kids and grandkids,” State Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) said. “More and more Georgians are embracing the reality that Climate Change is a real threat that we need to address today, I hope my fellow elected officials follow suit and help our state take advantage of the solutions like solar and wind that we have in abundance.”
Mayor Kasim Reed’s office released a statement that Atlanta is home to one of the strongest markets in the nation for electric and alternative-fuel vehicles.
“My Administration is supporting this thriving market through providing charging infrastructure, and will soon convert part of the City’s vehicle fleet to highly-efficient electric cars, supporting improved air quality,” Reed said.
“The climate crisis requires bold and urgent action. In the face of rising asthma rates, record droughts, and surging oceans there can be no question: the damage of carbon pollution threatens the health of our communities, the strength of our economy, and the security of our nation,” Democratic Leader, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (C-DA) said.
“America cannot afford Republicans’ willful blindness to the reality and gravity of the climate crisis. As faith leaders from Pope Francis to the evangelical community have reminded us, there is no room for indifference, delay or denial when so much is at stake,” Pelosi said.
Faith leaders also join the growing chorus supporting clean energy.
“It’s an important first step to addressing climate change, which is not just a matter of science or policy, but one of faith. Congregations across the country are responding to the moral obligation to care for creation, so I suspect faith communities will be a primary voice calling on their leaders in Congress to support this rule,” Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, president and founder of Interfaith Power and Light, said.
“Pope Francis has stated that the gravity of the ecological crisis requires we all protect the common good, and reducing carbon pollution from power plants will safeguard common goods like air, water, land, and community health for generations to come,” Joan Brown, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, said.
“We’ll continue working across the country with our 40 state affiliates to garner support for this historic effort to clean up the nation’s dirtiest power plants,” Bingham added.