Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. That’s why a year and a half ago, President Obama announced a national Climate Action Plan to cut the carbon pollution fueling climate change, prepare communities across America for climate impacts, and lead the world in our global climate fight.
A centerpiece of the President’s strategy is EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. In June, we proposed a plan that would cut carbon pollution from power plants to protect public health and move us toward a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations, while supplying the reliable and affordable power our country needs for a healthy economy and job growth.
From day one, reaching out and engaging with the public and stakeholders has been our top priority. Our proposal was shaped by an extensive and transparent public engagement process that has continued to this day. We have heard from thousands of people, through hundreds of meetings, listening sessions, video conferences, webinars, conference calls, and public hearings across the country. Throughout this process we have been hearing from states and local governments, power companies, communities, environmental groups, associations, environmental justice advocates, labor groups, Tribes, small businesses and many more.
Today, almost 6 months after issuing our proposed Clean Power Plan, we’ve reached the end of the public comment period—the second phase of our public outreach. Since June, we’ve met with well over 300 groups and received more than 1.6 million comments; and that’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of comments that came in last week and those that are coming in today. Each commenter has something important to say, and we are listening to each and every one of them.
We’ve heard from people who support EPA moving forward with the Clean Power Plan and people who don’t. We’ve heard support for the flexibility the proposal provides to states to develop plans that meet the needs for their residents and businesses. We’ve heard that the carbon reductions targets we proposed are too tough and we’ve heard that they’re not tough enough. And much, much more. What we know for sure is that people care about this issue and we know we have a lot to consider as we work toward a final rule.
Just as the June proposal didn’t mark the end of our outreach efforts; today does not mark the end of our conversation with the public. We will continue to talk about the ideas everyone is putting forward as we work through the comments we’ve received. And we will continue to work with stakeholders and states as they are starting to think about their 111(d) compliance plans and how they are going to meet the goals.
But for now, as the formal public comment period comes to a close, I want everyone to know how grateful we are to those of you who have taken the time to review the proposal and to tell us what you think. And while we’ve said countless times that the agency’s outreach has been unprecedented—the reaction and the level of stakeholder engagement have been equally unprecedented. This is exactly the way the process should work. So thank you all for being part of this important work to cut carbon pollution. We look forward to continuing the conversation and working together to ensure that the world we leave behind is as safe, healthy and vibrant as the one we inherited.