The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finally moving ahead with long overdue regulatory actions to limit climate altering carbon pollution from the nation’s power sector. The agency has issued draft regulations to cap carbon emission from new coal and natural gas power plants and is in the process of developing standards for existing power plants.
Not surprisingly, fossil fuel apologists and their allies in Congress are attempting to block the EPA’s climate action plans. Representative Ed Whitfield (1st District of Kentucky), recipient of over $140,000 in PAC money from electric utilities and the oil and gas industry in the current election cycle, is using his perch as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power to push through legislation aimed at gutting the EPA’s authority to reign in climate altering emissions.
The bill, H.R. 3826, seeks to overturn the EPA’s ability to establish carbon standards for new power plants and block the implementation of rules and guidelines for existing generators. As this legislation moves rapidly through the House, twenty-eight environmental and civic groups from across the state sent a joint letter to the New York congressional delegation urging members to stand up against this bill and work with the EPA to help set carbon standards that measure up to those already in place here in New York.
New York State has established itself as a national leader on the curtailment of climate pollution from the power sector through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the enactment of legislation restricting carbon pollution from newly constructed power plants. Rather than creating unnecessary barriers designed to stall long overdue action on climate change, our congressional delegation needs to take a bipartisan stand against H.R. 3826 and work to bring the rest of the nation in line with the climate policies New York has been implementing for years.