EPA’s 111d Regs Support ECC’s Civic Engagement Goal
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed June 2 regulations to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants support ECC’s overarching missions of curbing pollution in metropolitan areas – and the respiratory illnesses they cause – and increasing equity in low-income communities of color by increasing energy efficiency and expanding job opportunities in the clean energy sector.
Most significantly from ECC’s perspective, the proposed regulations allow for multi-stakeholder engagement – a core ECC strategy – to find consensus around the country’s energy future.
“The 111d regulations are locally derived and afford the nation’s first opportunity to explore a full range of energy options to meet the needs of a multi-faceted constituency at the local and state levels,” observed ECC President and CEO Denise Fairchild.
“The controversy that the proposed regs have sparked in some quarters is likely to result in an important dialogue about our energy future,” she continued. “ECC coalitions of ‘unlikely’ partners – business, labor, community – are continuously and intensely engaged in such tough but vital conversations.”
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the proposed regulations are the federal government’s first attempt to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants – the single largest source of such pollution in the United States and the source of about one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions – and the first proposed national limits on carbon pollution levels.
The regulations would, by 2030:
- Cut power sector carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide from 2005 levels, equal to the emissions from powering more than half of U.S. homes for a year;
- Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent;
- 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 – a climate and public health benefit worth up to $93 billion; and
- Cut electricity bills by about 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand for electricity.
Flexibility for States
The proposed regulations allow states to meet specific carbon-reduction goals and provide flexibility to design programs that make the most sense for each state’s “unique situation,” according to EPA. The agency says states “can choose the right mix of generation using diverse fuels, energy efficiency and demand-side management to meet the goals and their own needs,” via either individual or multi-state plans.
In announcing the regs, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “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. 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.”
EPA is accepting comments on the proposed regulations for 120 days, until October 16, and will hold four public hearings during the week of July 28 in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. EC Metro Atlanta is slated to testify at the Atlanta hearing and has been active in mobilizing engagement in the regulatory process.