Denver, CO – Coal and gas power plants will pollute 32 percent less nationwide and clean energy sources such as solar and wind will meet more of the state’s electricity needs, according to limits on carbon pollution finalized today that are central to President Obama’s plan to address climate change.
“The Clean Power Plan is the single biggest action the U.S. has ever taken on climate and is great news for Colorado,” said Kim Stevens, State Director with Environment Colorado. “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.”
Colorado elected leaders heralded the benefits the new pollution limits will bring the state, which already has one of the most ambitious renewable electricity standards in the country.
“EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a clear and sensible path forward to cleaner, safer, renewable energy,” said Commissioner Gwen Lachelt of La Plata County. “Coloradans have only to gain from these new carbon pollution standards, which were designed with flexibility for states to develop individual plans that play to our existing economic strengths and unique circumstances. By building on existing policies like the renewable energy standard, our children and grandchildren are sure to live healthier and safer lives in a cleaner and more productive economy.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan sets state-by-state limits on heat-trapping emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, the largest single source of such pollution in the country. Under the plan, each state determines how to meet its pollution cap.
Colorado is well-positioned to meet its limits with increased development of clean energy, for which it has vast potential. Colorado has one of the most ambitious renewable electricity standards in the country, and as a result Colorado’s current wind generation displaces enough global warming pollution per year to equal the effect of taking 525,000 cars off the road.
“The Clean Power Plan is a strong first step towards creating a sustainable energy future for Colorado, moving us away from energy sources that produce harmful carbon pollution and also promoting sustainable solutions like solar,” ,” said Derek Wadsworth with Solar Works. “Coloradans deserve to enjoy the benefits of our famous 300 days of sunshine a year in the form of money saved, cleaner air breathed, and open spaces that will be around for future generations to enjoy.”
The Clean Power Plan is also expected to bring public health benefits, since cutting power plant pollution also reduces soot, smog, and other harmful pollutants that are responsible for respiratory illness and even premature deaths. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the Clean Power Plan will save as many as 6,600 lives and prevent up to 150,000 asthma attacks each year.
Vast majorities of Coloradans across party lines support the carbon pollution limits, according to a recent poll [http://environment.yale.edu/poe/v2014/]. More than 200,000 comments from Coloradans were among the 8 million submitted across the country in favor of the carbon reductions.
The fossil fuel industry, however, and its allies in Congress have launched multi-pronged assault against the Clean Power Plan in the courts, state capitols, and the U.S. Senate. The plan’s survival against these attacks is considered critical to U.S. leadership at international climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.
“The Clean Power Plan offers states a great opportunity to lower consumers’ electricity bills while fighting climate change,” said David Arkush with Public Citizen’s Climate Program.
“Today’s action is thanks to all the Coloradans, together with millions of Americans, who called for strong climate action,” said Stevens. “With continued leadership from President Obama, support from Colorado’s leaders, and backing from the public, the U.S. can help steer an international agreement to stave off the worst of the climate crisis.”
Environment Colorado is a state-wide, citizen based environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water and open spaces. www.environmentcolorado.org