Environment Arizona, Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona Ecumenical Council Earth Care Commission, Navajo Tribal Members and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light Applaud Plan to Curb Carbon Pollution
Phoenix, AZ — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever national protections from dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants. Carbon pollution causes climate disruption and is already costing American communities billions of dollars from flooding, super-storms, wildfires, and extreme heat.
This new standard, which is part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, will clean up the industries that create the lion’s share of carbon pollution in our country. The new protections will also help reduce other life-threatening air pollution including mercury, soot, and smog.
“Today, we applaud President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for acting to clean up our air, improve the health of our children, and begin to curb the worst effects of climate disruption,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “According to the recent National Climate Assessment, our state is already experiencing the impacts of climate disruption and there is more to come, including hotter temperatures, more intense heat waves, decreased river flows, and more intense forest fires. That is why this EPA action today is critical.”
“A’hee’he (thank you) to EPA. This first ever federal limit will eliminate approximately 531 million tons of dangerous carbon pollution nationally,” said Elsa Johnson, Navajo tribal member. “Finally, we on Navajo and Hopi will breathe a bit easier. For nearly fifty years our air, land, health and water suffered due to the surrounding 7 power plants and mining operations on our lands. Navajo and Hopi tribes being most affected, our grassroots leaders, have tirelessly advocated for clean energy. Now I am hopeful that imposing carbon pollution limits on coal-fired power plants will facilitate a defined transition to renewables.”
“This announcement is a huge win for our health and our environment,” said Bret Fanshaw, advocate with Environment Arizona. “It is in large part a testament to the millions of Americans, thousands of Arizonans, more than 600 local elected officials and hundreds of small businesses who have already demanded the cutting of carbon pollution.”
“We need a strong plan to protect Arizona’s families from harmful air pollution. We urge the governor to be a leader for clean air and healthy children and to protect other family members at risk for pollutant-caused heart and lung diseases,” said Dr. Barbara Warren, State Director of the Arizona Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “We also must reverse the trends in our warming climate that put many people at risk from extreme heat or fire related injuries or deaths.”
“Climate change is the number one moral issue of our time, and its effects are already being realized, not just here in Arizona, but all over the world” said Sarah King, chair, Earth Care Commission. “Both locally and worldwide, our most vulnerable populations– the poor, the sick, the very young–will be the hardest-hit by the accompanying drought, disease, higher temperatures, and crop failures. The EPA’s new standards represent a much-needed first step toward curbing carbon pollution and could serve as a model for international action.”