Sen. Carper’s Clean Air Bill Helps Combat Global Warming
At Environmental Hearing, Senator Promotes First-Ever CO2 Controls on Power Plants
A practical solution to reduce air pollution and combat global warming from Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of a Senate clean air subcommittee, was featured at a hearing on power plant proposals held today by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW).
Earlier this year, Sen. Carper introduced the Clean Air Planning Act of (CAPA) that has strict controls on mercury, ozone and acid rain pollution, and set the nation’s first carbon dioxide cap. This clean air bill has attracted wide support from utilities, environmental groups and bipartisan lawmakers seeking a consensus on new thoughtful and comprehensive clean air policy.
“Power plants are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, and the largest polluters of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury,” Sen. Carper said. “As we develop an economy-wide solution to global warming, we must simultaneously enact stricter caps on mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emitted from power plants nationwide.”
At today’s EPW hearing, Sen. Carper’s power plant proposal was praised by the Chairman of the Pacific, Gas and Electric Corporation who testified that “taking the approach called for in this (CAPA) legislation will create clarity for business; create focus for a comprehensive electric power strategy; provide linkage to other sectors of the economy and the world; and allow us to begin to change the U.S. emissions trajectory today. This is particularly important given the power sector accounts for approximately 1/3 of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”
Specifically, Sen. Carper’s CAPA bill would:
- Cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 82 percent by 2015. This acid-rain causing pollution would be cut from 11 million tons to a cap of 2 million tons by 2015.
- Cut emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 68 percent by 2015. Ozone pollution will be cut from 5 million tons to a cap of 1.6 million tons by 2015.
- Cut mercury emissions at each power plant by 90 percent in 2015. This is a stringent, yet achievable goal that would greatly reduce the risks this neurotoxin poses to children and pregnant women.
- Implement a cap-and-trade program to reduce CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions would be capped at today’s levels in 2012. Power plants would then reduce CO2 emissions to achieve at least a 57 percent reduction from today’s levels by 2050.