During a July 31 public hearing in Pittsburgh, and at an attendant press conference and rally, elected officials, health experts, labor leaders and others highlighted the claimed public health benefits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon pollution standard for existing power plants.
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) on July 31 released quotes from various pro-rule parties, who urged Pennsylvanians to pledge support for action against climate change and in support of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which calls for 30% greenhouse gas reductions from existing power plants by 2030.
- “We are at an opportune moment in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania’s history where we can choose our direction. We can rely on aging electrical grid systems and inefficient sources of energy that pollute our air and water. Or, we can encourage innovation, improve performance and enhance our quality of life,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.
- “The EPA’s Clean Power Plan presents a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the energy future of our region and country. The Plan recognizes that expanded use of reliable, affordable, renewable power is a critical tool in reducing carbon emissions from power plants, and we welcome the opportunity to be a part of the solution. We look forward to working with the EPA and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as we move toward implementation of this important energy policy,” said Jim Spencer, president and CEO of Everpower Wind Holdings.
- “EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a necessary step to reduce our climate impacts, and the benefits of this action will have ancillary benefits to Pennsylvania’s citizens through improved health, better conservation and environmental resources, and a reduction in harm to our air, water, and land which, next to our people, are among our greatest resources,” said Cindy Dunn, president and CEO of PennFuture.
- “Pennsylvanians want the healthier communities and prosperous economy the Clean Power Plan aims to deliver. This plan is an opportunity for our state leaders to build more job-creating renewable energy like wind and solar power, securing cleaner air and a brighter future for Pennsylvania’s children,” said Joanne Kilgour, director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania chapter.
- “We can no longer see the earth as both an infinite resource and as an infinite garbage can. We need to stand together in solidarity and fight for not just good jobs, but also green jobs. Otherwise, what’s the point? We can’t have jobs on a dead planet,” said Marc Mancini of UFCW Local 23.
- “Pennsylvania’s counties suffered through a staggering 485 dangerous ozone days last year caused by extreme heat reacting will other pollutants from coal-fired power plants. The state needs to take the effects of climate change seriously and disregard its plan to exploit an EPA loophole exempting two-thirds of the CO2 pollution from waste-to-energy plants. Simply put, encouraging waste burning will only encourage waste and increase carbon dioxide emissions,” said Russell Zerbo of the Clean Air Council.
The July 31 hearing came just weeks after the EPA announced its Clean Power Plan, which will place limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants. EPA is seeking public comment on the proposed action and is holding regional hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh during the week of July 28.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett on July 30 rallied in Pittsburgh, along with West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Ohio Lieutenant Gov. Mary Taylor, against the CO2 rule. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are major coal-burning states that would stand to lose both coal-mining and coal-power plant jobs due to this rule.
“In Pennsylvania, nearly 63,000 men and women work in jobs supported by the coal industry,” Corbett said. “Anything that seeks to or has the effect of shutting down coal-fired power plants is an assault on Pennsylvania jobs, consumers, and those citizens who rely upon affordable, abundant domestic energy.”