Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine State Representative, Marine combat veteran, President of the Elected Officials to Protect America, and Co-Founder was the M.C. at the press event where The Climate Action Campaign and Elected Officials to Protect America celebrate President Biden’s Cut Climate Pollution Plan and urged the EPA to set the strongest standard possible. June 29, 2023 By […]
Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine State Representative, Marine combat veteran, President of the Elected Officials to Protect America, and Co-Founder was the M.C. at the press event where The Climate Action Campaign and Elected Officials to Protect America celebrate President Biden’s Cut Climate Pollution Plan and urged the EPA to set the strongest standard possible.
June 29, 2023
By Ramona du Houx
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – In May the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed plan to cut climate pollution from existing coal, existing gas, and new gas power plants. With this announcement, President Biden is taking another meaningful step toward meeting his pledge to cut climate pollution in half by 2030.
On June 29, 2023, at the Philadelphia City Hall, Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) working with the Climate Action Campaign held a press conference to celebrate President Biden’s Cut Climate Pollution Plan and to urge the EPA to set the strongest standards possible for power plants to protect the health of all Americans.
“The climate crisis is here now. We see it in our communities on a daily basis. The current state of air quality in Allegheny County – with constant air quality alerts, more frequent and severe pollution, asthma rates in children rising, and calls for our most vulnerable residents to stay indoors – is unacceptable. By implementing strong climate pollution regulations nationwide, we can ensure cleaner air that will mitigate the impacts of pollution on public health and create a more resilient and livable world for all,” said State Representative Sara Innamorato, District 21.
“As a pharmacist and an elected official, I am well positioned to understand the impact pollution has on my community. Seeing the sheer number of patients with asthma, especially children, and knowing we all can do more to improve the air we breathe and help our residents be healthier, motivates me to support the EPA’s proposed standards. I am confident that every dollar spent on meeting and enforcing these standards will result in many multiples of that investment returned in the form of healthier people, lower healthcare costs, and increased worker and student productivity,” said Martin Miller, PharmD., Commissioner, West Norriton Township.
This new standard will slash carbon pollution by 617 million metric tons from 2028 to 2042, which will help ensure clean air and a healthy climate for all Pennsylvanians.
“Systemic racism has held back environmental justice communities from opportunities others have been given. It’s wrong. The proposed EPA plan would help these communities live healthier lives by cutting the pollution that has given them chronic illnesses, shortening many lives,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine State Representative, Marine combat veteran, President of the Elected Officials to Protect America, and Co-Founder. “Every day we fail to act costs Pennsylvanians more in lives, dollars, and environmental harm. We applaud the EPA for moving forward. We need a strong Cut Climate Pollution Plan – our communities can’t wait.”
CO2 emissions for existing U.S. power plants produce about 25 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas climate pollution.
“In Pennsylvania alone, almost 1.5 million people live or work within a half mile of an active oil or gas well. We need the strongest possible climate pollution standards to be finalized by President Biden and Administrator Regan to protect our communities!” said Marie DeMarco, MPH, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Pennsylvania.
The proposal sets emission limits and guidelines based on cost-effective, available control technologies, such as carbon capture and storage and low-greenhouse gas hydrogen, for power plants that generate electricity by burning coal, oil and natural gas. The proposed guidelines also outline requirements for states to undertake meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders during the planning process.
“Strong power plant carbon pollution standards would go a long way to help meet President Biden’s goal of cutting carbon emissions in half from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. The EPA has both the authority and the obligation to enact, for the first time, limits to carbon emissions from gas and coal-fired power plants which threaten human health and are driving the planet to ever more catastrophic climate extremes,” said Dr. Juan Declet-Barreto, Senior Social Scientist for Climate Vulnerability, Union of Concerned Scientists.
When implemented, the standards — combined with President Biden’s plans to speed up the transition to electric vehicles, curb methane leaks from oil and gas wells, and energize the economy with the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA’s) investment of $370 billion into clean energy — would significantly cut U.S. climate pollution and put the country on track to meet President Biden’s pledge to cut the country’s climate pollution in half by 2030 to reach net zero by 2050.
“Over the last two decades, Pennsylvania’s power generating sector has reflected a shift from coal to natural gas-burning generators, which now account for over half of all electricity generated in the Commonwealth. While air quality has improved as a result, natural gas generators still emit massive amounts of carbon pollution. Because Pennsylvania is the third largest producer of electricity in the U.S., federal policies are critical. We need stricter rules across Pennsylvania, and nationally, to ensure that all greenhouse gasses (GHGs) emitted from our energy sector are either captured, or replaced with truly environmentally-friendly generation sources,” said Joel Hicks, Carlisle Borough Councilmember, Elected Officials to Protect America Leadership Council, Navy Veteran. “The EPA’s proposed rule for existing generators is critical in ensuring we meet our nation’s goal of 50 percent GHG reductions by 2030 and decarbonization of the electric grid by 2035. The administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provide subsidies to assist in making sure we stay on track. Pennsylvania will benefit from this rule, adding jobs, improving health outcomes, and ensuring our great nation continues to innovate and not stagnate in our effort to limit the effects of climate change.”
Elected Officials to Protect America included these measures, along with others, in its Climate Emergency Plan, that over 1,070 elected officials from across the country have signed onto with an online letter to the President and Congress.
“Since the creation of our Climate Emergency Plan, Elected Officials to Protect America has helped herald the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Law into being. But these measures alone won’t achieve the U.N. climate goals we need in order to hold back devastating climate crisis storms, drought and fires that are projected, which would result in millions of displaced people and spur conflict. This is a national security threat. The EPA needs to enact the strongest power plant CO2 emission standards without delay,” added Alex Cornell du Houx, President of the Elected Officials to Protect America, and Co-Founder.
Following the press conference, the leaders delivered a letter to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, calling on them to “stand up for a strong Cut Climate Pollution Plan that will deliver cleaner air and a healthier climate.” This letter includes leaders from Pennsylvania and across the country who have already called for strong carbon pollution power plant standards. The full letter text can be found here.