No New Dirty Power Plants Under EPA Standard

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Channing Jones

Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Providence, RI – After a summer of extreme June rainfall and record July heat in Rhode Island – and as the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy draws closer – the Obama administration proposed a major new rule today to curb the carbon pollution spewing from power plants that fuels global warming. Scientists warn that without major reductions in carbon pollution, extreme weather will become even more frequent and severe.

Power plants are America’s largest single source of carbon pollution, and today’s rule would place the first ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants.

“If we want a safer climate and future for our kids, we can’t keep letting dirty power plants pollute,” Channing Jones, Campaign Director with Environment Rhode Island. “President Obama has put his foot down in the fight against global warming and effectively said: ‘No new dirty power plants.’”

The proposed rule represents the first major benchmark in the implementation of President Obama’s climate plan unveiled in June. The President’s action enjoys broad support – Americans submitted more than 3.2 million comments in support of carbon limits on power plants in the last 18 months. Hundreds of elected officials, business leaders, and public health organizations have joined the call for limiting carbon pollution from the power sector.

A recent report from Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center found that a large portion of America’s carbon pollution comes from a small number of the dirtiest plants. For example, if the nation’s 50 most carbon-polluting power plants were a sovereign nation, they would emit more carbon than all but 6 other nations on Earth. The nation’s biggest carbon polluter – Georgia Power Company’s Plant Scherer – emits as much global warming pollution as 4.4 million passenger vehicles.

“This is a kiss goodbye to the dirtiest power plants that wreak havoc on our weather patterns and threaten our children’s future,” said Jones. “This new rule will mean more renewable energy, more energy efficiency, and less global warming pollution.”

The Obama administration is expected to propose a rule to limit carbon from existing power plants by June 2014, and to finalize that rule the following year.