On Monday, as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA proposed the first-ever carbon pollution guidelines for power plants. We already regulate pollution like sulfur, arsenic, mercury, and lead, but we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want.
The EPA’s proposal will prevent as many as 150,000 asthma attacks in kids each year while helping combat the impacts of global warming, which are already being felt in communities across the country. It provides states the flexibility to meet the standards using the energy sources that work best for them.
These commonsense, responsible steps to curb carbon pollution are already being hailed by editorial boards across the country. Here’s a sample of what they’re saying:
Make no mistake, this is not anti-business. A lot of folks in the utility industry will be pleased to see the regulations move forward, chiefly because it will finally bring some consistency to the market and create new opportunities for renewable power. Meanwhile, burning less coal will also mean reducing harmful and potentially cancer-causing byproducts like mercury and sulfuric acid that are a threat to human health and the environment as well.
Massachusetts — Boston Globe: "Finally, US gets serious about climate change"
The new regulations on power plant emissions announced yesterday by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency mark the nation’s first truly serious assault on climate change. The proposed rules, which will be subject to a four-month comment period, call for cutting carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent within 15 years. It’s a workable, realistic goal that will spur investment in low-emission energy technology, including wind and solar power. Phased in over a long enough period to minimize economic damage, it would nonetheless achieve a reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to taking nearly two-thirds of the nation’s passenger vehicles off the road. The clearer air should save thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars in health benefits. And it would finally give the United States the credibility to push other countries, including fast-growing, fast-polluting China, to enact similar measures. It is, in every sense, a major step — and a long overdue and welcome one.
Colorado — Denver Post: "Bold step to curb carbon pollution"
The Obama administration's plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030 from the level that existed in 2005 appears ambitious but doable. It will also allow the U.S. to reclaim a leadership role in the world in terms of reducing greenhouse gases. And while reaching the 2030 goal will be expensive, human ingenuity will no doubt ensure that it's not as costly as the dire estimates emanating now from some critics. To emphasize what should be obvious, for example: It's not going to cripple the economy.
Kentucky — Lexington Herald-Leader: "Ky. should embrace climate for change; EPA plan cushions impact on coal-reliant states"
You'd never guess it from all the wailing and gnashing of teeth in our U.S. Senate race, but the Obama administration's long-awaited plan for reducing heat-trapping gases from power plants should come as a relief to Kentucky. The Environmental Protection Agency's climate plan mirrors in significant ways recommendations by Gov. Steve Beshear's coal-friendly Energy and Environment Secretary Leonard Peters. Peters, who sent his ideas to the EPA last year in a detailed white paper, was trying to protect Kentucky's 220,000 manufacturing jobs from precipitous increases in power costs that could force energy-intensive industries to move overseas.
California — Los Angeles Times: "EPA plan to curb carbon emissions is pragmatic, smart and overdue"
Reducing emissions doesn't necessarily mean forcing consumers to spend more on energy, however. Just look at California, where efficiency standards have held monthly electric bills almost 25% below the national average even though electricity rates are among the highest in the country. Besides, the country can't afford to ignore the problem posed by coal-fired plants. Global warming threatens to be an environmental catastrophe, and the U.S. must prevent as much of the damage as it can. As multiple recent studies have concluded, the cost of dealing with the worst effects of climate change will far outweigh the cost of preventing them.
Wisconsin — Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "President Barack Obama's tough love for the planet"
The Obama administration finally took the leadership role it needed to take on climate change when the Environmental Protection Agency announced a plan Monday to, for the first time, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The plan won't take final form until next year, but the administration has set the right target, which could lead to significant mitigation of climate change if other nations follow, as well as a stronger economy through the development of new technologies and new markets.
New Jersey — New Jersey Star Ledger: "NJ should applaud Obama crackdown on power plants"
President Obama’s announcement yesterday of new carbon rules to fight global warming is the most important thing he’s done in office, along with health care reform. Not only will it force reductions in carbon pollution from our nation’s coal-fired power plants, it will put a burner under research into green technologies, which in the end is our only hope to reduce the threat of climate change.
Maine — Portland Press Herald: "EPA rules would be breath of fresh air for Maine residents, businesses"
Our farms, forests and fisheries can’t afford the cost of inaction on climate change. Climate change is not a theory, and it’s not something that is happening far away from Maine. Heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere are already warming the air and water, changing their chemical composition and contributing to severe weather. In Maine, we can expect damage from coastal flooding, the decline of fisheries (including the lobster industry), longer allergy seasons, the end of our mild summers and more instances of chronic breathing ailments like asthma. That’s why Mainers should applaud the announcement Monday of proposed rules by the Environmental Protection Agency. In what would be the most ambitious step to date to address the world’s most serious environmental problem, the rules would regulate carbon pollution from power plants for the first time, reducing their emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
Utah — Salt Lake Tribune: Editorial: "A chance to lead the way on climate change"
Utah has been presented with an opportunity to lead, truly lead, on a matter of global importance for generations to come. All we have to do is seize the moment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday announced a new set of standards aimed at significantly reducing the amount of carbon dioxide American power plants pour into the atmosphere every year. It is a step that is necessary in order to head off a future where we see the planet heat up and the quality of life driven down, here and around the world.
California — San Francisco Chronicle: "Obama’s carbon rules a step in the right direction"
But existing power plants are the largest source of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions. Launching this critical initiative there will create a market for emissions reductions in other fields. It will also put the United States in a powerful position to demand emissions reductions from other countries. It will also improve public health in states that depend heavily on coal for energy. California is likely to be a big winner when these changes go forward. States that depend heavily on coal power might choose to develop programs like California's cap-and-trade system, creating more partners for us.
North Carolina — News Observer: "EPA’s proposed carbon rule is reasonable and necessary"
President Barack Obama’s landmark accomplishment has been passage of the Affordable Care Act, but this week his administration proposed a second major health initiative: an ambitious plan to cut carbon dioxide pollution 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005. The proposal to reduce carbon emissions from power plants is part of the president’s effort to fight climate change, but the immediate effect would be a reduction in the amount of pollution Americans breathe. The Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, Gina McCarthy, said the rule should be adopted “for the sake of our families’ health and for our kids’ future.”
New York — New York Times: "Nearing a Climate Legacy"
The greenhouse gas reductions required by the Obama administration’s proposed rule on power plants will not get the world to where it has to go to avert the worst consequences of climate change. But they are likely to be enormously beneficial: good for the nation’s health, good for technological innovation, good for President Obama’s credibility abroad, and, in time, good for the planet and future generations.
Pennsylvania — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Breathing easier: Obama takes a historic step on climate change"
If climate change is a real threat, as the scientific evidence strongly suggests, then this is a sensible plan to confront it. Its critics are wrong in assuming nothing good can come of this. As pollution equates to poor health, a huge benefit accrues to cleaning America’s air. The EPA estimates that this step will avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children and 490,000 missed work or school days, all of which come at a great cost.
Texas — Austin Statesman: "CO2 reduction plan welcome, overdue"
The Obama administration’s plan to cut the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030 is an overdue step toward addressing global warming. It carries a cost, but a necessary one. And over time, its benefits should far outweigh its costs, both for the country and for Texas. The 30 percent reduction goal is a nationwide average. Texas would be required to cut its carbon emissions more steeply, by 39 percent compared with 2005 levels, under the plan released Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Texas — Houston Chronicle: "Texas can handle this EPA rule"
The proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations aim at reducing carbon emissions from coal-fired installations that help fuel climate change. The goal is a 30-percent reduction nationally from 2005 carbon-discharge levels by 2030. Texas is currently far and away the leading bulk producer of carbon pollution among U.S. states. Because of the magnitude of Texas emissions, its target would be a 39 percent cut by 2030. Far from draconian, the plan gives states much flexibility in deciding how to reduce carbon emissions.