Milestone Reached as the Public Comment Period Closed at Midnight, Highlighting 2+-Year Effort to Give a Voice to Maine Citizens Who Want Clean Energy and Action on Climate Change
Augusta, ME—As the public comment period on the Clean Power Plan came to a close at midnight on Monday, Maine groups supporting climate action delivered a symbolic “8 millionth” comment supporting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.
Right now, strong laws protect people’s health from mercury, arsenic, and other air pollution from power plants, but there’s no national limit to how much carbon pollution power plants are allowed to dump into our air. Carbon pollution harms our health and our climate, and coal-burning power plants are the largest source. The EPA proposal builds on the effectiveness of the Clean Air Act, and would require cleaner power plants across the country—in line with the carbon pollution limits already established in Maine and the region under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Since early 2012, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Conservation Alliance, Environment Maine, and many others, have collectively informed the public of the importance of these historic new standards, and their efforts have contributed to the 8 million comments overall that have been submitted to the EPA by Americans who support clean energy and carbon pollution limits for power plants.
The joint public comment, supported by the groups listed below, is as follows:
“Since the EPA first began collecting them in 2012, clean air supporters have collected and submitted more than 8 million public comments nationally and in 2014 alone nearly 50,000 comments have been collected from Maine people who support EPA standards to limit dangerous carbon pollution from power plants. While national limits exist for toxic air pollutants like mercury, arsenic and soot, there are currently no national limits on the carbon pollution power plants dump into our air.
“This symbolic 8 millionth comment reflects the broad support that exists in Maine for solutions that reduce the unlimited carbon pollution from power plants that fuels climate change and puts our health, our economy and our communities at risk. Recent polling shows voters want climate action by almost a 2 to 1 margin. This demonstration of support for U.S. leadership on climate change is unprecedented and exceeds, by far, the anti-science, anti-action efforts of dirty power plant allies.
“This support makes sense, given the benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency Maine people enjoy, and the recognition of the serious threat of climate change Maine in particular. It threatens our health, our coasts, our public infrastructure and critical traditional economic sectors such as fisheries, tourism, winter recreation, forestry and farming.
“Mainers do not have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We can have both. Over the last four decades, clean air standards have reduced air pollution by 70% while our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has tripled. The Clean Power Plan will significantly cut carbon pollution from power plants across the nation, while preventing 150,000 asthma attacks and saving $95 billion per year by 2030. We applaud the EPA and the Administration for its unprecedented public outreach and efforts to craft a carbon pollution standard that every Maine citizen can support.”
Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine
Maureen Drouin, Executive Director, Maine Conservation Alliance
Emily Figdor, Executive Director, Environment Maine
Fossil fuel-burning power plants are the single largest source of dangerous carbon pollution in our nation, and dirty coal plants are the worst. The new standards take a significant step forward in tackling climate change and protecting our health, the environment, and our economy.
Cutting carbon pollution from power plants nationwide will protect our health, wildlife, and natural resources while boosting our economy by spurring jobs and innovation in clean energy technologies.
The Northeast has already demonstrated national leadership through our Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which applies to new and existing power plants, and sets limits on carbon pollution. Independent analysis has shown that RGGI has poured more than millions into the region’s economy, created hundreds of jobs, and helped people saved millions on energy bills. It is not fair for the Northeast to suffer from carbon and other pollution pouring into the region from power plants to the south and west. We need national standards.
The proposed carbon standards for existing power plants would ensure the rest of the country follows the Northeast’s lead.