Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency is listening. The EPA has set up listening sessions around the country to hear -- from you -- what it should do about our changing climate.
In these sessions, the EPA is trying to "solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants."
Why is this so important? Because it's one of the most significant ways our president can reduce our nation's carbon dioxide emissions.
By issuing a Carbon Emissions Standard for Existing Power Plants, EPA will be able to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted from power plants. Around 40 percent of our nation's carbon dioxide comes from power plants that are burning fossil fuels to make electricity. It's the largest individual source of carbon pollution, and so it's a crucial place to focus if we want to reduce the dangerous emissions that are warming our climate.
Power plants are currently required to limit their emissions of lead, mercury, and other toxic pollutants. The Supreme Court has established that carbon dioxide is a pollutant: It endangers human health and the environment, and, as a result, the EPA can regulate its emissions. The agency is on track to issue a proposed standard for carbon emissions from existing power plants in June, 2014.
EPA has already issued proposed standards for new power plants. But the new power plant standards will apply only to newly built plants. The carbon standards for existing power plants -- the ones slated to be rolled out next June -- will apply to all power plants currently in existence. They therefore will have a much greater impact on current, actual carbon dioxide emissions.
Now EPA is trying to figure out how strong those regulations should be.
That's where moms and dads come into the picture.
These listening sessions will lay the groundwork for a strong, protective carbon pollution standard -- but only if we speak up. About why we care about climate change. About our children's health. About our children's future. About why the industry message -- that it's harmful to our nation to limit carbon emissions -- ignores our precious children, and discounts their future.
Moms Clean Air Force is going to be a strong presence at these sessions. Already, EPA has heard from compelling parent and grandparent voices in the New York listening session. And we've got parents signing up in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington. (Including me! I will be at the DC listening session, and am bringing a posse of moms and dads) Whether you are in those cities, or in the others listed below, please consider joining in. Let's tell the EPA that we want a strong carbon pollution standard for existing power plants.
- Denver, CO: October 30
- Boston, MA: November 4
- Lenexa, KS: November 4
- San Francisco, CA: November 5
- Dallas, TX: November 7
- Seattle, WA: November 7
- Washington, DC: November 7
- Chicago, IL: November 8
- Philadelphia, PA: November 8
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, get help with registering, or get help with preparing your comments. We are here to help you speak up for a healthy future!
Follow Molly Rauch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mollyrauch