Lawmakers Urge EPA to Broaden Scope to Cover Additional Power Plants and Pursue Robust Community Protections
November 14, 2023
Nearly 400 state and local officials today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt the strongest possible carbon pollution standards for coal- and gas-fired power plants to protect public health, slash climate pollution, and move closer to 100 percent clean power generation. The diverse group ranges from mayors and state lawmakers to city council members and school board members hailing from 40 states and Puerto Rico.
Toxic and climate pollution from fossil fuel plants is plaguing much of the United States and is a main driver of climate change and myriad public health concerns. Every year, power plant pollution yields thousands of premature deaths, asthma attacks, hospital and emergency room visits, school absences, and lost workdays.
According to the EPA, the proposed standards for coal- and gas- fired power plants would avoid more than 600 million metric tons of carbon pollution, while also preventing 300,000 asthma attacks and 1,300 premature deaths in 2030 alone. The group of state and local officials noted that the standards, set to take effect in April 2024, represent an important step forward, but encouraged the agency to achieve even greater pollution reductions by covering more plants and on a faster timeline.
“Representing millions of constituents, we understand firsthand how important tackling climate change is to our communities,” the letter states. “Extreme weather disasters are costing us on average more than $5,000 a second. As severe heat waves, drought, wildfires, sea level rise, severe storms, and coastal and inland flooding become more frequent, communities across the country are feeling the effects of climate change firsthand.”
Colorado State Senator Lisa Cutter stated, “We know that fossil fuel pollution is harming human health, and killing our planet. Action is long overdue.”
Coral Springs (FL) Commissioner Nancy Metayer Brown added, “As a united force of nearly 400 officials, including local leaders from diverse backgrounds, we urgently call on the Biden Administration to embrace robust standards targeting carbon pollution from coal- and gas-fired power plants. In particular, the proximity of Florida to the front lines of climate change accentuates the crucial need for immediate action. Our collective voice demands the adoption of stringent measures to safeguard public health, curb climate pollution, and propel us closer to a future powered by 100 percent clean energy.”
In addition to calling for greater coverage, the signatories also underscored the importance of rigorous monitoring and enforcement.
They wrote, “The administration must also take action for community protections and input, including rigorous monitoring and verification of emissions, enforcement of violations, and engagement with communities, both on the state planning process and on individual projects.”
The letter was coordinated by several groups united in their belief that the climate crisis requires urgent action. The groups include Climate Action Campaign, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Elected Officials to Protect America, C40 Cities, and Climate Mayors.
The full letter can be found below and a list of all of the signatories, listed by state, can be found here.
About the Climate Action Campaign
CAC is a vibrant coalition of dozens of major national environment, environmental justice, and public health groups, working together to drive ambitious, durable federal action based on science, to address the climate crisis. Our goal is to reduce climate pollution and accelerate the transition to clean energy in ways that support justice, jobs, health and economic opportunity for all.
The Honorable Michael S. Regan
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Regan,
As local and state elected officials from across the country, we write today to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed reduction of greenhouse gases from the power sector (EPA-HQ-OAR-2023-0072).
Representing millions of constituents, we understand firsthand how important tackling climate change is to our communities. Extreme weather disasters are costing us on average more than $5,000 a second. As severe heat waves, drought, wildfires, sea level rise, severe storms, and coastal and inland flooding become more frequent, communities across the country are feeling the effects of climate change firsthand.
Climate change also affects our health, causing increased incidences and/or severity of respiratory illnesses, heat-related illnesses, cardiovascular illnesses, infectious diseases, adverse birth outcomes, mental health impacts, and even injury and premature death. These health impacts and climate burdens can be even more severe in communities of color and low-income communities.
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to rein in climate pollution from the nation’s dirty coal- and gas-fired power plants. That’s why we are thankful that the EPA is taking action to reduce climate pollution. The agency’s proposed carbon rule represents an important step toward the goal of achieving 100 percent clean power generation. We believe EPA’s proposal is a critically important step forward, and encourage the agency to achieve even greater pollution reductions by covering more plants and on a faster timeline in recognition of the threat of climate change. The administration must also take action for community protections and input, including rigorous monitoring and verification of emissions, enforcement of violations, and engagement with communities, both on the state planning process and on individual projects.
We look forward to working with you and your agency to strengthen and finalize these important standards by April 2024 to protect our communities and the planet.