June 2, 2014
1:15 pm EDT
It’s an important day. Today, at the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Today’s proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.
By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. And we don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment–our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs.
Here are the top four things to know about the proposed plan. The Clean Power Plan:
- Fights climate change: Our climate is changing, and we’re feeling the dangerous and costly effects today.
- Protects public health: Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. Although there are limits for other pollutants like arsenic and mercury, there are currently no national limits on carbon. Americans will see significant public health and climate benefits now and for future generations.
- States leading with proven approaches: States and businesses have already charted a course toward cleaner, more efficient power. Our plan doesn’t prescribe, it propels ongoing progress
- Key is flexibility and putting states in the driver’s seat: With EPA’s flexible proposal, states choose the ways we cut carbon pollution, so we can still have affordable, reliable power to grow our economy.
Watch a video from Administrator McCarthy on the Clean Power Plan here:
Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.
With the Clean Power Plan, EPA is proposing guidelines that build on trends already underway in states and the power sector to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, making them more efficient and less polluting. This proposal follows through on the common-sense steps laid out in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the June 2013 Presidential Memorandum.
Interested in more detailed information on the benefits of the rule? View the Whiteboard video by Joe Goffman, EPA Associate Assistant Administrator for Climate.
By 2030, the steady and responsible steps EPA is taking will:
- Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
- Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
- Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
- Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
For more information, view the following fact sheets:
- Overview of the Clean Power Plan – Cutting Carbon Pollution from Power Plants (PDF)
- Why We Need a Cleaner, More Efficient Power Sector (PDF)
- Flexible Approach to Cutting Carbon Pollution (PDF)
- National Framework for States – Setting State Goals to Cut Carbon Pollution (PDF)
- The Role of States – States Decide How They Will Cut Carbon Pollution (PDF)
- By the Numbers – Cutting Carbon Pollution from Power Plants (PDF)
Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.
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