EDF Joins Broad Chorus Urging EPA to Stop Attack on Climate Pollution Standards for New Power Plants

Two EDF experts joined dozens of other Americans at a public hearing on Valentine’s Day to urge the Trump administration to stop its attack on common sense protections against climate pollution from new, modified, and reconstructed power plants.

“EDF urges EPA to withdraw its reckless, unlawful proposed rule for new coal plants. The proposal fails to place any meaningful limits on power plant pollution, fails to reckon with the reality of climate change, and, as a result, fails to satisfy EPA’s legal obligation under the Clean Air Act,” said EDF legal fellow Lance Bowman at today’s hearing.

EPA established our first-ever nationwide limits on carbon dioxide pollution from new, modified, and reconstructed fossil fuel-fired power plants in 2015. As the Clean Air Act requires, EPA set the standards at levels that reflect the best demonstrated system for reducing pollution. The standards have been in full force and effect for more than three years, protecting all Americans from uncontrolled carbon dioxide pollution from new power plants.

However, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a proposal in December to severely weaken the current standards. Wheeler’s proposal would allow new coal-fired power plants to be built and operated without reducing their carbon dioxide pollution to any meaningful degree. It also questions whether carbon dioxide pollution from new power plants should be subject to any limits at all under the Clean Air Act.

“[T]he Clean Air Act … obligates EPA to require new power plants to limit their emissions using the ‘best’ system of emission reduction. But the current administration now proposes to weaken current standards for new coal-fired power plants, and find that achieving no meaningful emission reduction is what’s ‘best.’ Indeed, the proposed standard for brand new coal-fired power plants is significantly weaker than what many existing coal plants are already achieving without carbon controls,” said Bowman in his testimony.

“Communities across the country are already grappling with the devastating impacts of climate change, and this proposal would only further risk public health and welfare—particularly for the most vulnerable among us,” said EDF attorney Surbhi Sarang, who also testified at today’s hearing.

The Trump administration is holding its one and only public hearing on the proposal at EPA headquarters in Washington D.C. today. Along with EDF, representatives from Moms Clean Air Force, the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Thoracic Society, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Clean Air Task Force, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club also signed up to testify.

The proposal flies in the face of mounting evidence that we must make clean energy progress:

The Trump administration is accepting public comment on the proposal until March 18.You can submit a comment through EDF’s website.

You can read Bowman’s full testimony here, and Sarang’s full testimony here.

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