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Anna Aurilio,
Environment America

Testimony: Clean Power Plan is chance to leapfrog gas, straight to renewable energy

For Immediate Release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues public hearings on the Federal Implementation Plan for the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s strategy to tackle climate change.

The Clean Power Plan sets state-by-state carbon pollution limits on power plants and requires states to develop strategies to meet their targets largely through energy efficiency and clean energy. The Federal Implementation Plan is the default emissions-reduction strategy for states that submit inadequate plans or no plans of their own.

Below are excerpts from the testimony of Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America, delivered at the public hearing this morning in D.C.:

“Until recently, global warming was a looming problem that was going to happen someday, somewhere, to somebody else. That all changed for me personally three years ago when Superstorm Sandy devastated my hometown of Long Beach, New York and my brother’s family and home in nearby Baldwin, New York. 

“Unfortunately my family is not alone. From the drought in California to the floods in South Carolina, we’re already seeing the impacts of climate change. Someday is today; somewhere is across the nation and the world; and somebody is each and every one of us…

“We know exactly how we got here... and we know exactly what we need to do: Global warming is primarily is caused by carbon pollution. Not just limiting emissions, but also decarbonizing our electricity system needs to be the top priority of the Clean Power Plan implementation. 

“We have neither the time nor the need to transition slowly from coal to gas. We need to use this opportunity to leapfrog straight to efficiency and renewables.

“As the director of an organization with state offices across the nation, I’m well aware that states have been leaders in capping carbon, getting clean cars on the road, and putting pollution-free energy on the grid. I believe the states can and should continue to lead in this arena so, frankly, I hope there is no need for a Federal Implementation Plan. 

“That said, should any state fail to meet any of the interim planning milestones or any of the emissions reductions I certainly hope you will impose and enforce a federal plan within a year of acknowledging a state lapse…

“Thank you for hearing my testimony.  Together I believe we can tackle this problem, transition to 100 percent renewables and create the cleaner, greener, healthier country we all hope we can leave to future generations.”