Executive Director, Environment Texas
Executive Director, Environment Texas
AUSTIN – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever, federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the largest single source of global warming pollution in America. A group of elected officials from across Texas enthusiastically applauded the proposed limits, which once finalized will be the largest step the U.S. has taken to combat global warming.
“I applaud the EPA’s commitment to regulating carbon pollution,” said State Representative Elliott Naishtat of Austin. “Scientists agree that global warming is real and poses an urgent threat to the health and safety of our community. These rules will protect the health of our families and the future of our children.”
“Climate change is an economic and public safety issue that deserves responsible 21st century solutions,” said State Representative Eddie Rodriguez of Austin. “I applaud President Obama and his team in taking actions that will leave Texas a better place to live in for the next generation.”
Elected officials see the proposed limits as an opportunity to move towards clean energy sources.
“I applaud President Obama’s proposed rule. Taking action to prevent the effects of climate change is essential. Limiting power plants’ carbon pollution is an important step towards producing cleaner energy sources,” said State Representative Jessica Farrar of Houston.
“Climate change is a serious issue that demands serious actions, which is why I applaud President Obama for today’s announcement. Reducing carbon emissions will lead to further development of renewable energy sources, on which Texas is already a leader. Today’s announcement is also good news for Texas energy producers, as cleaner-burning natural gas will increasingly displace coal in electricity generation,” said State Representative Chris Turner of Grand Prairie (HD101).
“Texas’ success in wind and natural gas demonstrates we can reduce carbon pollution while creating good jobs, maintaining a stable electric grid, and keeping rates down. EPA’s proposal will encourage further strategic investments in clean energy, helping our environment and strengthening our economy,” said Representative Rafael Anchia of Dallas.
“I applaud the President’s actions to take initiative in addressing the serious consequences of climate change by regulating carbon emissions from power plants. Austin’s air quality has been on the cusp of non-attainment, with serious repercussions for the health of our citizens as well as potentially serious economic impacts,” said State Representative Donna Howard of Austin. “We have also heard from city officials that continuing down a path of unchecked emissions will result in more frequent and more intense droughts and floods, wreaking havoc on our infrastructure, further disrupting our prosperity. The actions announced today will, fortunately, have the inverse effect, boosting the clean technology sector that has made Central Texas the envy of the nation.”
Across the country Americans have felt the consequences of global warming. In 2011 and 2012, the number of heat waves was nearly triple the long-term average. In the Northeast and Midwest, extreme precipitation events have increased by 30 percent. Here in Texas, severe droughts are threatening water supplies and crops.
“The region I represent is experiencing drought. Common sense pollution controls that represent just a step toward reducing carbon emissions simply make too much sense not to implement,” said State Senator Jose Rodriguez of El Paso.
The consequences of global warming have led elected officials to support the EPA’s proposed limits on carbon pollution.
“Climate change is a problem that is affecting every part of our country and experts believe it will only get worse in the coming years,” said Dallas City Council District 4 Councilmember Dwaine R. Caraway. “That’s why I applaud President Obama’s decisive action and leadership on this vital issue facing our nation.”
The National Climate Assessment, released in May, recognized today’s impacts with the statement, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.”
Until now, there have been no federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution power plants are permitted to spew into the atmosphere.
Former Texas State Epidemiologist Dr. Vince Fonseca also voiced support. “Air pollution makes people sick. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants causes premature deaths, hospital visits, and lost work days from heart and asthma attacks. These health problems are common in our family, friends, co-workers and throughout our community. These health problems are made worse by air pollution. Decreasing the air pollution improves the health of our family, friends, and co-workers and also reduces the costs associated with heart and asthma attacks. This new air quality proposal is good for our community since the health and financial benefits far outweigh the costs. The health benefits are $7 for every $1 spent to prevent ozone and particulate pollution from coal-fired power plants in this proposed plan. I think that’s a good investment in the health of our community. It takes healthy people living in a healthy community to make a healthy economy.”
“This announcement is exactly what we’ve been waiting for,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas. “This is America’s chance to lead and our best chance to give our children a legacy we can be proud of. This announcement is a huge win for the health of our families and our environment. “It is in large part a testament to the millions of Americans, more than 600 local elected officials, and hundreds of small businesses who have already demanded the cutting of carbon pollution.”
“The dirty energy companies that oppose this move may question the science and predict economic apocalypse if we act. They can make up whatever claims they want. But a cleaner, more energy-efficient economy and environment is not going to undermine our prosperity. In fact, our kids’ future depends on it. ”
- Global warming is hurting Texas. According to the National Climate Assessment, droughts like we’re in now – posing a serious threat to water supplies -will get much worse for our children and future generations unless we rein in the carbon pollution fueling global warming.
- Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution. Texas leads the nation in carbon pollution from power plants. Power plants make up 34% of the total carbon pollution in the state. The top five most polluting power plants are Martin Lake, W.A. Parish, Monticello, Limestone, and Welsh. Nationally, the 50 dirtiest power plants emit more carbon each year than all but 6 other countries.
- For over 40 years, the Clean Air Act has effectively reduced dangerous pollution. The Supreme Court has ruled that EPA is obligated to protect Americans from carbon pollution the same way it protects us from soot, smog, mercury, and more.
- Clean energy is already reducing carbon pollution in Texas. Efficiency and renewable energy policies are already reducing carbon pollution in Texas equivalent to taking 3.7 million cars off the road in 2012. Thanks in large part to clean energy tax incentives, Texas is ready to make even bigger reductions.
- Global warming hurts public health. Heat is a key component of smog, and global warming is increasing the number of bad air days. On top of that, severe weather threatens public safety, and warming is increasing the spread of certain diseases.
- Texans support limits on carbon pollution. At least 30 Texas elected officials have voiced support for limits on carbon pollution from power plants. A recent Stanford poll found that 76 percent of Texans support carbon limits.
Despite the facts, we know that opposition from Congress, particularly in the House of Representatives is going to be intense. Just last week, the House of Representatives passed a Defense Authorization Act that would bar the Department of Defense from assessing and weighing the costs of extreme weather or other climate change impacts. We can unfortunately expect more of the same climate denial when it comes to limits on carbon pollution from power plants.