Public Interest Groups Call for More Aggressive EPA Rule to Curb Carbon Emissions

Dec. 1, 2014

Public Interest Groups Call for More Aggressive EPA Rule to Curb Carbon Emissions

125 State, National and International Groups Send Letter to President Outlining Ways to Strengthen Proposal to Curb Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 100 public interest groups today called for more aggressive action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, the 125 groups said they support a rule proposed by the EPA in June but urged the president to strengthen it so it “drives the transformational change required to end our dependence on dirty energy.”

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. The plan gives states latitude to use a variety of ways to meet the targets for reduced emissions.

In the letter, the groups – which range from environmental and consumer to faith organizations – 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 a cap-and-trade system or include offsets (credits for greenhouse gas reductions that can be bought and sold, and are used in an attempt to compensate for the emissions of polluters).Trading may offer cheaper compliance for polluters, but it means that communities burdened by the dirtiest power plants continue to live with the health impacts of pollutants; and
  • Should live up to the United States’ international obligations

In addition, the groups said that solutions to reduce climate change-inducing pollution must not create or exacerbate other environmental and social problems.

“A rule like the Clean Power Plan with insufficient reductions, delayed timelines, and perverse promotion of natural gas and nuclear power undermines our ability to serve as international leaders on climate disruption,” the letter says. “We urge you to strengthen the plan for existing power plants to make it consistent with our historic obligations.”

The letter is available at https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/crc-organizational-letter-epa-clean-power-plan-final-20141201.pdf.

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