Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its first-ever standard on carbon pollution from fossil fuel power plants. The landmark standard will limit the amount of carbon dioxide that a power plant can emit into the atmosphere. The new rules will have the greatest impact on coal power plants, which release more carbon dioxide than any other power source. EPA’s announcement comes as welcome news in this era of prolonged inaction on climate change. Nevertheless, opponents are already lining up to fight EPA’s standards tooth and nail.
Attorneys General from 17 states, including Texas, have banded together and pledged to fight any limits on carbon pollution. They claim that individual states should have sole authority to regulate emissions from sources within their boundaries. Unfortunately, states like Texas have demonstrated in the past that they are unwilling to regulate carbon pollution, a big statement considering that Texas releases more carbon pollution than any other state in the nation.
EPA’s announcement today is a common sense approach to solving the climate crisis. The proposed standards would set the first uniform national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants. They do not apply to currently operating, existing power plants. As a result, the standards will hasten the transition toward cleaner electricity sources with fewer carbon emissions and help drive U.S. policy forward reflecting that these clean energy technologies are the best option for powering America.
The new rules are especially welcome news for Texas. For too long, Texas lawmakers have kept their heads in the sand on climate change, and resisted any effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Rather than bending over backward to convenience the coal industry, state lawmakers should be crafting the legislative solutions we need to overcome a changing climate.
With these standards, EPA is fulfilling an obligation to ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. Taking steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution will help protect our children’s health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so that we leave a healthy environment for the next generation.
EDF applauds EPA for taking the initiative to get U.S. carbon emissions under control. The federal government has a duty to protect Americans from dangerous climate policies, like those espoused by many Texas leaders. EPA’s recent actions are part of a renewed federal mobilization to address global warming, outlined in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. We applaud President Obama and EPA for taking concrete action on climate for the sake of the environment, our health and for future generations.