Leahy Praises EPA’s Historic New Limits On Pollution From The Power Sector

[WASHINGTON (MONDAY, June 2) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday praised the historic announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Obama of a plan to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent by 2030.  The move is the latest step under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and will reduce carbon pollution from power plants, which are the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution.  Leahy has long championed clean air and water policies and has been the Senate’s leader in pressing for curbs on power plant 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 era of letting energy companies put profits over people -- harming our health, endangering our more vulnerable citizens, and scarring the planet -- must finally end.  For the good of our generation and future generations, the President has shown the courage and the foresight to do what has long been overdue.

“Today the Environmental Protection Agency has announced new, flexible, commonsense guidelines to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector across the country.  They were crafted with feedback from businesses and from state and local governments. 

“This historic step is not based on theory but on sound science and long experience with the effects of this major, unchecked source of pollution in communities across the nation.  This is tangible progress in turning the corner toward a healthier and more sustainable clean energy economy.

“The President is right to push to address this climate crisis, which will be catastrophic for future generations if we do not act now.  The EPA is doing just what Congress and the Supreme Court has directed under the Clean Air Act:  If a pollutant endangers public health and welfare, it must be limited.  As a parent and grandparent, I believe that we must confront this crisis for the sake of generations to come.  As the people of Vermont saw firsthand when Hurricane Irene tore through our state, the effects of climate change are already being felt, and the dangers we face are far too great to risk inaction.

“This plan will also result in a reduction in particulate matter and ozone emissions, which will prevent thousands of premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks.  I am pleased that this plan will allow flexibility for states and will help to create a much-needed surge in renewable energy and efficiency investments.  This means new jobs in manufacturing, building trades and construction industries across the country.

“The effects of climate change may be hard to measure with precision, but surely we can all agree that taking steps to mitigate environmental impacts of harmful pollutants that have an adverse impact on the health and well-being of children and adults benefits us all.  This is a meaningful step that will make a real difference in the lives of all Americans now and in the future, and I applaud and support the President’s initiative.”

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