EPA Proposes New Limits on Power Plant Pollution

photoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.  Carbon pollution fuels global warming, which leads to poor air quality that triggers asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. Power plants are among the sources blamed for the smog that frequently fouls Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Scientists also predict that global warming will lead to more devastating floods, more deadly heat waves and the spread of infectious diseases. Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of carbon pollution in the U.S., yet there are currently no federal limits on this pollution from power plants.  The standard proposed today will correct that for new power plants by limiting their emissions of carbon pollution.

Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat and Ranking Member on the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, lauded the action.

“I applaud the EPA for its commitment to tackle head-on one of the key causes of global warming in an effort to safeguard our air and climate for future generations,” Moran said. “Scientific evidence clearly shows the negative impact of greenhouse gases like those emitted from coal-burning power plants. Not only do power plant emissions threaten the health of current and future generations, but a warming climate will have disastrous impacts on our economy and global stability.

“Though today’s proposal would not impact power plants currently dirtying our air, it will ensure that plants built years from now will use the latest technology to generate less carbon.”

The standards announced today are the first stemming from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling on the Clean Air Act. In 2009, the EPA began an extensive public process to gather the latest information to aid in developing today’s proposed carbon pollution standard for new power plants.

Sarah Bucci, Environment Virginia’s Federal Field Organizer, called the proposal “an historic step in protecting Virginians’ health and our environment.  By setting the first-ever standards for the largest source of the carbon pollution that fuels global warming, President Obama and EPA Administrator Jackson are standing up for Virginians—and putting our health above the demands of the polluter lobby.”

“Along with the steps being taken to cut other dangerous power plant pollutants such as soot, smog, mercury and other toxic pollutants and the new standards for fuel efficiency, these carbon pollution standards will mark historic progress in protecting our health, reducing waste, and encouraging job creating innovation in the clean energy economy.

“Virginians understand the value of clean air, and while the polluter lobby can be expected to trot out the same tired attacks and tactics, they won’t stop the progress and they will have to clean up their act,” Bucci said.