September 20, 2013

EPA Standards for New Power Plants a Welcome Step for Climate, Consumers

Statement by Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Averting catastrophic climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity. We’re decades late in responding appropriately, and there is absolutely no time left to waste.

That makes today’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency of revised performance standards for new power plants so critically important.

It’s a certainty that industry will claim this rule will injure consumers. We’re past time for policymakers to be distracted by such misleading claims.

Power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution. We have the technology and solutions -- starting with scaled up investments in energy efficiency -- to transition to a clean energy economy in a way that creates jobs and does not result in higher energy prices for consumers.

Moreover, consumer well-being depends on preventing the worst climate change scenarios, which constitute the greatest long-term threat to our economy.

The proposed rule for new power plants will limit carbon dioxide emissions for any new coal fired power plant to roughly match those of new natural gas power plants, and will finally begin to level the playing field for technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and energy efficiency, which have been forced to compete against heavily subsidized fossil fuels, including coal.

We look forward to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of this important consumer and public health safeguard.

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