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Under President Obama's Climate Action Plan, a Year of Progress at EPA

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Climate change supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. On behalf of our kids and future generations -- we have a moral obligation to act. That's why in June, President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan to cut the harmful carbon pollution fueling climate change, build a more resilient nation to face climate impacts today, and lead the world in our global climate fight.

As part of the president's plan, he called on EPA to act. And over this past year, we've been answering that call.

• In September, we proposed standards to limit carbon pollution from new power plants yet to be built. This past June, we proposed carbon pollution standards for existing power plants by laying out a Clean Power Plan. Both of our proposals were built from extensive outreach and advice from states, cities, industry and the public. We're continuing those crucial conversations on standards for existing plants throughout a 120-day comment period which closes on October 16, 2014. We plan to finalize standards for existing plants in June, 2015. Cutting carbon pollution from power plants -- and all the pollution that comes packaged with it -- will mean thousands of fewer heart attacks, and tens of thousands fewer asthma attacks, especially for our kids.

• We know carbon pollution isn't just about power plants. We're building on historic progress on fuel efficiency standards by working to make post-2018 heavy duty trucks more efficient, too -- bolstering energy security, spurring innovation, and saving money. Fuel efficiency means we fill up less often, saving money at the pump, while cutting huge amounts of carbon pollution. It's a win-win.

• EPA isn't going it alone. We've made tremendous progress across the administration under the president's leadership. We've permitted a record amount of clean energy projects on public lands, and we've stepped up appliance efficiency standards that cut pollution and cut costs for families and businesses. In fact, since the president took office, the energy we get from wind has tripled and solar has grown 10-fold.

• Recognizing the need for an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy, along with the need for commonsense steps to cut carbon pollution, the President released a Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions that maps out steps to measure and reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. At EPA, we've sought peer and public review and we're looking at the input we received so far, with the aim of identifying our next steps this fall. We also announced a roadmap for the Natural Gas STAR GOLD partnership program, which will officially launch by the end of the year. Basically, we're adding another level of recognition to our successful Natural Gas Star program to encourage member companies to do more to reduce more pollution.

• Cutting greenhouse gas pollution is just part of the picture. We have to build more resilient communities to face climate impacts today. By upgrading programs and tools -- like EPA's upgraded Stormwater Calculator -- we're helping mayors and governors incorporate climate considerations in the way they build and run their cities as they deal with the costs of rising seas and more frequent and intense floods, fires, and storms.

By committing to cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, we can encourage investment and unleash market forces that will create jobs in a modern 21st century power sector, all while cutting pollution and reducing health risks. Cities and states have been leading the way on climate action because they know the economic and environmental benefits are too great to leave on the table. That's why Americans nationwide overwhelmingly support action to limit carbon pollution and develop and deploy more clean energy. And time after time, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed our obligation under the Clean Air Act to protect public health through commonsense climate action.

A year ago, there's a reason President Obama delivered his big climate speech to students. We have a moral obligation to ensure the world we leave future generations is safe, healthy, and full of opportunity. Although we've taken big steps forward at EPA and around the Administration in the past year under the Climate Action Plan, we have a lot more to do. For the sake of our families today and our kids' future, let's keep the momentum going.