Sanders Backs EPA Curbs on Power Plant Pollution
WASHINGTON, July 30 – At a news conference on Capitol Hill and in testimony at an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today strongly endorsed an EPA proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants to curb global warming.
“If we do not address this crisis, our children and grandchildren will look back on this problem and we will be judged by history in a very negative way,” Sanders said.
The EPA hearings here and in Denver and Atlanta were held to take public comment on President Barack Obama’s plan to address climate change by cutting carbon-dioxide emissions from electric power plants by 30 percent by 2030.
“We are facing a planetary crisis,” said Sanders, a member of the Senate energy and environment committees. “The vast majority of climate scientists agree that our planet is warming, that human activities – especially burning fossil fuels – are the primary cause, and that climate change already is causing devastating damage across the world in the form of floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme weather.”
Power plants are the largest source in the United States of harmful carbon pollution, accounting for roughly one-third of all carbon released into the air. Unlike other pollutants, there are now no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that a power plant can release.
The EPA wants to set state-by-state carbon pollution limits. By 2030, the standards are expected to reduce U.S. power plant carbon pollution by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels. That’s equal to the annual emissions from more than 150 million cars, or almost two-thirds of the nation’s passenger vehicles.
There are no coal-fired power plants in Vermont, but the state will collaborate with New England neighbors in a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Vermont also will continue to be a model for other states by aggressively encouraging the development of alternative energy sources and promoting energy efficiency. In proposing the new national rules, EPA singled out Efficiency Vermont as a model that states should look to in developing their plans.
According to new research for the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the average global temperature has increased by more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit between 1880 and 2012. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, temperatures in Vermont and New England have increased at least 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 30 years. By 2100, New England could be up to 10 degrees hotter.
“We are facing a pivotal moment in history. We must act quickly and boldly to dramatically cut carbon pollution, transform our energy system, and create good-paying jobs all over this country,” Sanders said.
Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141