BOSTON – Massachusetts elected officials, clean energy and public health advocates, environmental justice leaders, and many more today applauded President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for finalizing the Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first protections from dangerous carbon pollution emitted by existing power plants.
These new standards, which are part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, will clean up the industries that create the lion’s share of carbon pollution in our country, while advancing the growth of clean, renewable energy in Massachusetts and across the country.
The new protections will also help reduce other life-threatening air pollution including mercury, soot, and smog.
“In state, we’ve already seen the enormous economic benefits of reducing carbon pollution and investing in clean, renewable energy like wind and solar,” said Emily Norton, Director of the Sierra Club’s Massachusetts Chapter. “Through state leadership under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Massachusetts is working towards a bright future with cleaner air and more clean energy jobs. We hope Massachusetts leaders will seize this opportunity with the Clean Power Plan to continue to go above and beyond in protecting public health, advancing clean energy solutions, and maintaining our region’s position as a national leader in clean energy.”
The northeast corner of the country is already leading the country in reducing pollution with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since launching the program in 2008, states participating in RGGI have led the nation with significant reductions of carbon and health-damaging air pollution while lowering electric bills and creating tens of thousands of new jobs, generating billions of dollars in net economic benefits.
Carbon pollution is the main contributor to climate disruption, fueling superstorms, ﬂoods, wildﬁres, and record drought. Power plants spewing dangerous carbon pollution also have a disproportionately negative effect on low-income communities and communities of color already suffering from the worst effects of toxic pollution, including heart attacks, asthma, and premature death. By establishing carbon pollution protections, President Obama and the EPA are beginning the essential work of cleaning up and modernizing the way we power our country.
“From extreme and devastating weather patterns to unsafe air quality, Massachusetts residents know the consequences of dangerous carbon pollution all too well,” concluded Norton. “Today, our nation is taking a bold and historic action to address the growing threat of carbon pollution and climate disruption and to protect the health of families across our country. While there is more work to be done, I applaud President Obama and our Environmental Protection Agency for finalizing these historic safeguards to reduce dangerous carbon pollution from power plants and ensure that our kids, our communities and Massachusetts’ workforce are healthier, while also creating much-needed jobs and ﬁghting climate disruption.”
As RGGI states have proven, complementary investments in energy efficiency, wind, and solar have made reducing carbon pollution from dirty power plants easy: the region includes 6 of the top 10 most energy efficient states in the country and every single state already has their own successful clean energy target. Energy consumers in the RGGI region– households, businesses, government users, and others – have saved $460 million, as their overall energy bills drop over time. States participating in RGGI can seize that opportunity by continuing to set carbon pollution reduction targets for power plants above and beyond minimum federal limits through the forthcoming RGGI Program Review, and expanding successful energy efficiency and clean energy targets to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation.
For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.