Wednesday, June 4, 2014

PA's Path to Meeting EPA Power Plant Pollution Rules

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania and other states will play major roles in implementing a proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency that would require power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent below their 2005 levels by 2030.

The new proposal gives states flexibility to decide how to meet their carbon-reduction goals.

The EPA action can help the nation stave off conditions that climate scientists predict could be life-threatening within a century if nothing is done, said Ed Perry, outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation's Climate Change Campaign in Pennsylvania.

"They're expecting 50 percent of our species on Earth to go extinct," he said. "We're going to have more extreme weather. Pennsylvania is predicted to have the entire summer over 90 degrees, with 26 of those days over 100."

Industry groups say implementing the rule as written would mean substantially higher utility bills for consumers and massive job losses nationwide. 

Perry noted that the fossil fuel industry routinely claims that new pollution limits will shut it down, and said those power plants that have invested in pollution controls now are in the best position to embrace the changes if the rule is adopted. The EPA will take public comments on it for the next four months.

In Perry's view, now is no time to risk the future well-being of the planet in the name of profit.

"These carbon rules are the first step in getting us off of these fossil fuels that are putting our planet on the path to destruction," he said.

In the past century, he said, Earth's temperature has risen only 1.5 degrees on average, and yet the effects brought on by climate change already have been substantial. He's hoping the EPA proposal will prompt new investment in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.

Details of the EPA proposal are online at

Tom Joseph

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