Legislators Call on President to Finalize Carbon Standards for Power Plants

Environment New York

Today, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) delivered to President Obama a letter signed by 302 state legislators from 40 states, including 10 New York legislators, urging him to prioritize tackling global warming in his second term. The move was applauded by Environment New York and other environmental advocates across the country. 

“This is what leadership in tackling global warming looks like,” said Eric Whalen, Field Director with Environment New York. “From Superstorm Sandy to Tropical Storm Irene, far too many New Yorkers have been harmed by the early effects of global warming. We have the solutions to address this problem, and today these legislators are speaking out and urging the President to follow through on his pledge to put these solutions to work.”

“We applaud the Obama administration for having finalized fuel efficiency standards and proposing limits to the amount of carbon that new power plants can emit in his first term,” said NCEL Board Chairman and Maryland Delegate Jim Hubbard. “Legislators from across the country are urging the President to continue his focus on climate change and use his office to spur the nation to act.”

The legislators cite recent extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy, western wildfires and increased frequency of drought among reasons for President Obama to prioritize addressing global warming. They argue that no U.S. community is immune from the effects of global warming, especially when you consider that, in addition to Superstorm Sandy, which left as much as $50 billion dollars of damage in its wake, there were 10 other extreme weather-related disasters in 2012 that have surpassed the $1 billion threshold in damages. 

New York Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh of lower Manhattan added that “Climate change is here and is destroying homes, critical infrastructure, and entire neighborhoods. Failing to address climate change is failing to protect our communities from the next Sandy. We’re counting on President Obama to ensure that Americans understand that.”

The legislators joined a growing chorus of small businesses, religious leaders, environmentalists and public health advocates in urging President Obama to make tackling global warming a priority.  The group called on the President to finalize proposed standards limiting carbon pollution from new power plants and to propose additional standards to address our nation’s aging power plants.

“In 2008, President Obama said that we would view this as the time when the planet began to heal and now, as he enters his second term, he has said addressing global warming is our obligation to future generations.  With the President’s leadership, and all of us working together, we can take the action that is so urgently needed to safeguard our people, our public health and our children’s future,” concluded Whalen.