July 28, 2014
12:25 pm EDT
The risks of climate change to our health and our economy are clear. The need for urgent action is clear. That’s why, as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, EPA proposed a Clean Power Plan to cut the harmful carbon pollution fueling climate change from our largest source—power plants.
Even before we put pen to paper on our Clean Power Plan proposal, we hugely benefited from unprecedented outreach. We held 11 public listening sessions nationwide. We heard from thousands of people through phone calls, emails, meetings, and more.
Since our June 2 release, we’ve officially entered the public comment period on our proposal, and we’ve been laser focused on our second phase of engagement. We’ve met with 60 different groups in just the first 25 business days after our proposal. We’ve received more than 300,000 comments so far, and expect many more. We want no stone unturned; and no good idea off the table.
That’s why this week we’re so excited to kick off public hearings across the country; we’re hosting four different public hearing sessions, two days each, in Washington, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Denver.
We expect great feedback at these sessions. And unfortunately, we also expect a healthy dose of the same tired, false and worn out criticism that commonsense EPA action is bad for the economy. The truth is, we don’t have to sacrifice a healthy economy for a healthy environment—the two go hand-in-hand. Just look at our history: since EPA has existed we’ve cut air pollution by more than 70 percent, while GDP has tripled. A recent New York Times article on an independent report showed even states like Texas and Oklahoma, states that have expressed some angst over our proposal, actually stand to see economic gains. Another report from the Energy Analysis Group pointed out that the benefits are big, both to public health and the economy, and in some cases those benefits are still being overlooked. Their analysis gives well deserved credit to states’ proven track record of creativity and innovation in cutting pollution while keeping energy affordable and reliable.
These hearings are a critical opportunity for people to speak to their government directly. But to be clear: any comment we receive by October 16, no matter how we get it, will be equally accepted and analyzed. We’re putting a lot of importance on open and inclusive process, because that will help us get to a final rule we can all be proud of. I’ve had countless conversations with power companies, utilities, state officials, and businesses—and they all agree.
The Business Roundtable, a group of the nation’s largest companies, said they look forward to cost-effective carbon pollution standards that protect people and grow the economy—and that’s the aim of our proposal. A recent survey of small businesses shows that they see the economic risks of climate change, and they want action. And the American people agree, 7 in 10 Americans say global warming is a serious problem. And 7 in 10 want us to act.
There’s a simple reason a chorus of people from all sectors of the economy and all walks of life are calling for climate action: it’s because our moral obligation is clear. We all want to make sure the world we leave our children is as clean, safe, and healthy as possible. And that’s what our proposal is all about.
Additional information about the public hearings: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/forms/public-hearings-clean-power-plan-proposed-rule
Instructions for submitting comments: http://go.usa.gov/XzNH
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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