On Eve of EPA Hearings, New York Already Aiming for Cleaner Power; Part of Nine-State Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
July 27, 2014
(NEW YORK) – Proposed carbon emissions standards are the subject of hearings this week that would cut carbon pollution in the power sector by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels.
Laura Haight, senior environmental associate of New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), says the state should easily be able to cope with the Obama administration’s proposed rules, which the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out in June.
That’s because New York is already part of the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
“We already are tackling power plant emissions and have had a great deal of success with it,” he explains. “In fact our program could be a model for how other states across the country comply with these new rules.”
Haight says New Yorkers packed a hearing back in October to decide whether new rules were needed.
The EPA will hold hearings Tuesday in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington to iron out the details of the proposed rules.
The new regulations are an especially hot topic in coal states such as Kentucky, where the industry claims the rules would devastate the economy of the region.
Louisville councilwoman Attica Scott says the issue has become so politicized that, in her words, “We’re missing the point.”
“We’re not fighting coal,” she stresses. “We’re not going to battle against coal.
“This is about people in the state of Kentucky who feel the effects of mountaintop removal. This is about people in Kentucky who feel the impacts of us relying so heavily on coal.”
Haight says New York and other Northeastern states are already seeing benefits from the curbs they put in place on carbon emissions.
“Since our program was initiated, our carbon dioxide emissions have gone down, energy prices have gone down,” she points out. “We’ve had growth in the economic sector – new jobs.”
According to the EPA, power plants are the largest sources of carbon pollution in the U.S., accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions.