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Gene Karpinski

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EPA Proposes Historic Industrial Carbon Pollution Standards

Posted: 04/ 3/2012 12:49 pm

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed historic new clean air standards to reduce industrial carbon pollution from power plants that will improve public health, promote innovation and create jobs. This is a historic step by the Obama administration towards cleaning up our air and cutting dangerous global warming pollution.

Power plants are the nation's single largest source of climate change-causing pollution. Doctors, nurses, scientists and other experts warn us that carbon pollution threatens public health, especially vulnerable are children and the elderly because global warming makes smog pollution worse, triggering asthma attacks and permanently damaging and reducing lung function.

This announcement follows the first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution for power plants announced by the Obama administration in December. The rule was finalized following the submission of more than 900,000 public comments -- the most comments ever received on an EPA rule, an overwhelming majority of which were supportive. The administration has also proposed vital fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards that, when fully implemented, will save American families $1.2 trillion at the pump while also cutting our dangerous dependence on oil.

Unfortunately, Big Polluters and their congressional allies are already trying to block scientists at the EPA from moving forward with these vital clean air safeguards. They're spending millions of dollars on misleading TV ads, frivolous lawsuits and other questionable tactics. And why are they doing this? Just so they can protect their profits and continue dumping unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. Yet polluters' deceptive tactics conveniently ignore the fact that study after study has shown that the benefits created far outweigh the costs of implementing clean air safeguards. In fact, analyses by the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have come to this same conclusion.

The EPA's clean air safeguards also enjoy broad public support. A nationwide bipartisan poll conducted this month by the American Lung Association found that 72 percent of voters support new standards for carbon pollution for power plants. Another survey, conducted by the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of LCV, found that 71 percent of voters support EPA efforts to reduce global warming pollution, including a solid majority of Republican voters.

The EPA should work to finalize a strong industrial carbon pollution rule as soon as possible: a key first step in curbing the threats of unchecked climate change. And after four decades, the agency should continue to be trusted to do what it does best: using the best available science to protect the environment and public health, while spurring innovation and holding polluters accountable.

But with polluting interests already mobilizing to block these clean air standards, it is critical that we demonstrate to the agency that the American people strongly support limiting harmful industrial carbon pollution. Please take a minute to support a public comment to the EPA in support of safeguarding public health and curbing global warming pollution.