The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Bold Steps Needed for New Clean Air Rules Combating Global Warming

Existing Power Plants Shouldn’t Be Exempt From Groundbreaking Rules Curbing Greenhouse Pollution


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is expected to announce groundbreaking new Clean Air Act standards soon to specifically target industrial carbon pollution from power plants. The new standards, however, are likely to apply only to plants built or modified in the future; they may exempt existing power plants, thus allowing them to continue to operate without industrial carbon controls.

"Rather than baby steps, the Obama administration needs to take bold strides to solve the climate crisis," said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Clean Air Act only works if the science is followed -- and in this case that means dealing with pollution that's being spewed into the atmosphere now, not only at some future time. When we hand out free passes to polluters, no one but industry wins."

According to a recent report from the American Lung Association, coal-fired power plants are responsible for some 13,000 deaths annually in the United States as a result of particle pollution. Coal-fired power plants produce more hazardous air pollution than any other industrial pollution source in the country. A recent study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that coal costs the United States $500 billion per year, largely as a result of increased healthcare costs.

The Center recently launched "Clean Air Cities," a nationwide campaign urging cities around the United States to call on the Obama administration and the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. So far, more than a dozen cities -- including Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Minneapolis -- have signed on.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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