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Petitioning Environmental Protection Agency

Tell the EPA: We Want Stronger Rules to Fight Climate Change

4,081
Supporters

The Environmental Protection Agency just proposed the first ever rule to limit the carbon pollution that is causing catastrophic climate change and is freely spewed by power plants. Unfortunately, the EPA’s rule – known as the Carbon Pollution Standard – does not do nearly enough.

While symbolically important, the rule is weak in a number of respects. It applies only to unlikely-to-be-built, new coal-fired power plants. It is riddled with loopholes allowing new sources of pollution including some new coal plants. It does not reduce carbon pollution from natural gas plants which are also a significant source of carbon pollution. And it does nothing to reduce carbon pollution from much more significant existing sources.

Because of the rising cost of coal, the low price of natural gas, and the tireless work of activists across the country raising concerns about the health and climate impacts of coal, we've already been able to block all new coal power plants. So while this rule does serve as an additional roadblock against building new coal plants if the economics of coal become favorable again, otherwise, it essentially codifies the status quo — making into regulation the facts on the ground already established by the hard work of community and environmental activists.

The EPA is now accepting public comments on the rule — and as it weighs the public's reaction, we need to show that we expect much, much more from EPA to regulate carbon pollution.

Tell the EPA: We need stronger rules to protect us from existing and future sources of carbon pollution.

It's sad that our political climate has been made so toxic by climate change denying Republicans — who literally voted to deny the science of climate change — that the very acknowledgement of the need to regulate carbon pollution by EPA is a victory and a positive step forward.

But in today's actual climate — where much of our country just experienced record-shattering March heat waves after a disturbing lack of winter — it is not only disappointing but profoundly dangerous that this rule does little if anything to effectively reduce unregulated climate pollution.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson - who has been one of the few people in the Obama administration willing to fight to address climate change and defend the Clean Air Act - is to be commended for her leadership on this rule, despite a begrudging White House whose hand was forced by a court mandate, and a Tea Party Republican majority in Congress so openly hostile and obstructionist to climate change policies. But it appears even she has her hands tied when it comes to moving forward on the Carbon Standard.

Having proposed a rule for new power plants, the EPA is now legally required to develop a rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants, a much more significant source. But in announcing the new Carbon Standard, Administrator Jackson literally said in a press conference, "we have no plans to regulate existing sources."

If EPA fails to take action on existing power plants, then the measured progress represented by this rule will go down in history as a symbolic though essentially empty gesture.

Tell the EPA: We need stronger rules to protect us from existing and future sources of carbon pollution.

It's important to acknowledge progress. And to be upfront about the massive barriers that block even the most modest measures to address climate change. But it's also essential that we recognize that fighting climate change is one of the most urgent challenges facing us as a nation and a planet. Nothing less than bold action is required, and we must not be satisfied with symbolic but essentially empty gestures no matter how hard won.

By submitting this form, your name, address and comments will be filed with a public agency and become public record.

Letter to
Environmental Protection Agency
Regulating greenhouse gas pollution from power plants to mitigate the disastrous impacts of climate change is one of the most urgent matters before the EPA.

But the proposed new source rule for greenhouse gas pollution, while symbolically important, falls far short of what is needed. It is clearly weak in many respects including the following:

1) It doesn't change the facts on the ground but merely codifies them -- construction of new coal plants has already been halted by the hard work of community and environmental activists along with the rising cost of coal and low natural gas prices.

2) It contains massive loopholes including the exemption for biomass, the one year grace period for new plants that will be exempt from the rules, and allowing new coal plants to pollute for ten years if they plan to install CCS.

3) The carbon pollution limit for new power plants - 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour of energy produced -- is low enough to limit new coal fired power plants, but high enough not to affect natural gas plants.

Don't bow to pressure from climate denying extremists or fossil fuel propagandists who are a literal threat to our future survival. I urge you to strengthen the new source carbon pollution standard and immediately implement a strong rule to limit carbon pollution from existing sources.

No matter how extreme and anti-science the political climate, nothing less than bold action is required to fight climate change, one of the most urgent challenges facing us as a nation and a planet.