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Why the EPA Needs to Regulate Power Plant Emissions

Why the EPA Needs to Regulate Power Plant Emissions

Electricity generation is the number one source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Fossil fuel fired power plants account for 67 percent of the county’s sulfur dioxide emissions, 23 percent of its nitrous oxide emissions and 40 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions. Clearly, reducing the nation’s GHG emissions means regulating the emissions from power plants. Enter the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate power plants’ GHG emissions.

Ceres is a national coalition of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups. Given its description, it should come as no surprise that Ceres sent a letter to the EPA last week in support of the proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants. The EPA is under court mandate to issue a final rule by November 16, 2011.

The letter states that the rule “is needed to improve the health of American citizens.” Deploying the rule, according to the letter, will prevent:

  • 17,000 premature deaths
  • 11,000 heart attacks
  • 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms
  • 12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions
  • 850,000 days of work missed due to illness

“Hands down, cleaner air is a worthwhile investment,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

Lubber said that deploying the rule will, in addition to improving public health, create “high-paying jobs to retrofit outdated, high-polluting power plants and build cleaner new ones.”

Lubber added, “Electric utilities are prepared to make billions in capital investments to clean up their fleets, but they need regulatory certainty.”

“Damaging pollution from obsolete, inefficient power plants drives up health costs for New Yorkers and damages natural resources that New York businesses rely on,” said Ceres coalition member New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

DiNapoli said that as an investor he has “urged companies that own and operate power plants to clean up their emissions, promote efficiency and develop clean renewable generation.”

“EPA’s proposed rules to reduce emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants are an important step in developing a new clean energy economy,” DiNapoli said.  ”Retrofitting or replacing outdated, polluting power plants with new cleaner technology will create jobs and new business opportunities. I urge EPA to adopt its regulations without delay.”

 

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Photo: Paul J. Everett

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31 comments

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10:57AM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

Maybe we should consider switching to excise taxes designed to capture external costs from non-tariff regulatory burden. We need the revenue. Big business could probably cope with excise taxes easier than with non-tariff regulatory burden. Things like labeling rules can't be replaced with excise taxes, for for rules trying to minimize things like pollution that we wish we could abolish altogether, excise taxes might actually work better.

8:10AM PDT on Aug 15, 2011

Thanks However I fear that money will get to them and if the money dont it will be the blind politicans.

5:31PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

SANDRA M. , YOU ARE SO RIGTH TOO!

5:26PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

ANTHONY C. YOU ARE SO RIGTH!

4:34PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

IT IS PRETTY SCARY WHEN WE HAVE TO ASK BIG CORPS LIKE THE EPA TO FOLLOW EMISSIONS FROM POWER PLANTS !! WHAT A PLIGHT WE ARE IN....UP TO OUR EARS, ACTUALLY OVER OUR HEADS WITH MISUSE OF POWER & MONEY!! YOU CAN PRETTY MUCH EXPECT THE PLANET TO KEEP THROWING US OFF !!!

4:18PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

Politicians,corporations.......Too much power.We do need to stand up and say ENOUGH! WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE! If everyone would band together and confront our government with a mass demonstration ...WE COULD TAKE BACK THE POWER THAT WAS TAKEN FROM US A LONG TIME AGO! .....
WE THE PEOPLE.........

3:13PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

David W. I ditto you! : "Vote the TEAPARTY out, they want to dismantle the EPA. I want to dismantle their ignorance platform!!"


please check this out: http://www.care2.com/news/member/796015720/2905601


2:20PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

SWITCH

TO

SOLAR

Solar power = clean energy with NO pollution

We've had this technology for several decades now. Do it #$?!!

12:20PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

Hope the EPA does the right thing.....I think they will.

10:44AM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

Vote the TEAPARTY out, they want to dismantle the EPA. I want to dismantle their ignorance platform!!

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