Leahy Praises EPA Announcement Of New Limits On Pollution From Future Power Plants

WASHINGTON  -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday praised the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of new, separate limits on the amount of pollution that new natural gas and coal power plants can release into the air.  The announcement is one of the first steps under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, which are the nation’s largest stationary sources of carbon pollution.  Leahy has long championed clean air and water policies and has been the Senate’s leader in pressing for curbs on the mercury pollution that has threatened the nation’s waterways and fisheries, and particularly the health of young children.  Following is Leahy’s statement on the EPA announcement:

“The time for allowing power plants to be built that will dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air must end.  We have an obligation to future generations to curb carbon pollution and address the causes and impacts of climate change.  These proposed standards will minimize carbon pollution by taking advantage of modern, cleaner energy technologies that power companies already are using, to build the next generation of power plants.  If left unchecked, carbon pollution threatens our health and intensifies climate change, leading to more violent and more extreme weather that costs communities and the federal government billions in economic losses and disaster recovery costs, as we have seen in Vermont over the last decade.

“This is a significant first step to address a public health challenge from future carbon-polluting power plants and in protecting downwind burdens on states like Vermont.  New standards for carbon pollution will have direct health benefits in Vermont by addressing climate change and the injury and death caused by extreme weather events and natural disasters, climate-sensitive infectious diseases, and air pollution-related illness including asthma.

“We now have curbs in place that help protect the American people from mercury, soot, arsenic and other air pollution from power plants.  But until now there have been no federal limits on carbon pollution.  This new step forward is exactly what the Clean Air Act requires and what the Supreme Court has upheld.  These new carbon pollution standards are a commonsense solution and a crucial step that I hope will lead to new discussions with the industry and other stakeholders for developing carbon pollution guidelines for existing power plants as well.”

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