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February 6, 2014 / Todd Larsen

Green America supports limiting carbon from new power plants

Today, I spoke at an EPA hearing in support of rulemaking to limit emissions from new power plants.  The rules would be an important first step in regulating power plants, the largest stationary source of carbon emissions in the U.S.

The pro-coal lobby was at the hearing in full force, arguing that they could not implement technologies to mitigate carbon pollution from new coal plants that would meet the EPA’s limits.  Of course, these are the same industries that have been touting carbon capture and sequestration technology as a solution to lowering carbon emissions for years.  While Americans firmly support regulating carbon emissions, we are badly outspent in Washington.

That’s why it’s essential that all Americans voice their support for carbon regulation.  You can take action with Green America online here:  http://action.greenamerica.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12768

Following are the comments I delivered to the EPA:

Thank you for hosting this public hearing to receive comment from Americans on the important issue of regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

My name is Todd Larsen, and I serve as the corporate responsibility director of Green America, a national non-profit organization with 170,000 individual members and 3,500 business members nationwide.  Our green business network is the largest network of certified green business in the United States.  Green America is also a member of the American Sustainable Business Council, which represents over 150,000 businesses nationwide.

On behalf of our members, Green America strongly supports the EPA’s new rules under the authority of the clean air act to address carbon pollution from new power plants.  The proposed new limits will create a standard of environmental responsibility and lay the groundwork for encouraging innovation and investment in lower-carbon technologies, new energy infrastructure, and increased energy efficiency.  At the same time, the rules will create only negligible costs.

The need to regulate carbon from new power plants is clear.  We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and those impacts will only increase.  If we build highly polluting power plants, the increased carbon pollution will contribute to increased natural disasters, air pollution, and negative health impacts, as well as severely weakened ecosystems. The two groups that Green America represents, consumers and small to mid-sized businesses, will be hard hit.

Consumers will face increased risks to their health and property, and rising costs of basic goods and services over time, as climate change impacts important systems such as food, water, and infrastructure.  Lower income Americans, those who can least afford it, will be the hardest hit.

Recent polling shows that 70% of Americans want the EPA to regulate emissions from power plants.  The vast majority also support a shift to clean energy sources.  Americans across the country and across political parties understand that we need to shift to clean energy sources to protect our lives and our economy.

Small and mid-sized business owners, America’s main street businesses, will also be negatively affected by climate change.  From disruptions in their supply chains, to physical damage and disruptions of their operations from increasingly extreme weather, small businesses are at a high risk from rising greenhouse gas emissions.

That is why polling conducted by the American Sustainable Business Council found that 63 percent of small businesses owners support EPA regulation of carbon emissions from power plants and 72 percent support incentives for clean energy.

EPA regulations of new power plants will also encourage greater innovations in clean energy technologies, which will boost the economy, job creation, and small businesses nationwide.  Clean energy and energy efficiency jobs offer competitive pay and are stable.  These technologies are revitalizing communities nationwide. They are also producing lower energy costs already. America needs more innovation to remain globally competitive, and regulating carbon will help lead to that innovation.  These rules are an important first step in carbon regulation.

For all of the above reasons, Green America and its members support the EPA proposing strong carbon pollution standards for new power plants.

Thank you.

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