EPA Fighting Against Climate Change With New Clean Power Plan
June 2, 2014

EPA Fighting Against Climate Change With New Clean Power Plan

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency, at the direction of the Obama Administration, unveiled the Clean Power Plan, which would cut carbon emissions from exiting power plants.

The move, framed as an attempt to fight climate change, would cost between $7.3 billion and $8.8 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The EPA said the plan would eventually save between $55 billion and $93 billion in pollution-related costs.

"Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source--power plants," EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. "By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids.”

“We don't have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment--our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs,” McCathry added.

The new plan follows a June 2013 Presidential Memorandum and targets a 30-percent cut in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. This will in turn lead to cutting particle pollution and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent, as well as avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, as many as 150,000 asthma attacks, and up to 490,000 missed days of school or work. The reduction will also reduce electricity bills by 8 percent, the EPA said.

“The Clean Power Plan will be implemented through a state-federal partnership under which states identify a path forward using either current or new electricity production and pollution control policies to meet the goals of the proposed program,” the agency said. “States can choose the right mix of generation using diverse fuels, energy efficiency and demand-side management to meet the goals and their own needs. It allows them to work alone to develop individual plans or to work together with other states to develop multi-state plans.”

The plan set a flexible deadline of June 2016 for states to submit plans for complying with the new guidelines. The agency said states that already have emissions-reduction plans in place can build on their existing systems during the compliance period in progression toward meeting federal goals.

The EPA said the new plan is based on engagement with “state, tribal, and local governments, industry and labor leaders, non-profits, and others.”

Critics of the proposal are questioning the EPA’s costs and benefits calculations. Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce released a report that the plan would cost the American economy $50 billion and more than 220,000 jobs annually. The EPA responded to the report in a blog post the same day it was released.

"The US Chamber of Commerce released a report that makes unfounded assumptions about the EPA's upcoming proposal for commonsense standards to cut the harmful carbon pollution from power plants," wrote EPA associate administrator Tom Reynolds.