Sen. Carper Lauds Historic EPA Carbon Rules to Clean Up Fossil Fuel Power Plants

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and ranking member of the Clean Air Subcommittee, issued the following statement commending the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule that would cut carbon emissions from the nation’s new and existing power plants by 32 percent by 2030, known as the Clean Power Plan.

“For those living in states already seeing the impacts of climate change, today’s historic clean air rules to regulate our nation’s largest source of carbon pollution has been a long time coming. Delaware, and other states harmed by climate change, have already taken action to reduce local power plant carbon emissions. Unfortunately, a few states cannot tackle this issue alone – all states must do their fair share to make an impact. Today’s Clean Power Plan and other climate rules unite our country in working together to address the largest source of carbon emissions. This rule is a huge step forward in the effort to reduce our nation’s carbon footprint and the harmful effects of climate change.‎

“Through unprecedented outreach – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made changes to the original proposal, not only to build on what states are already doing, but also to do so in a more cost-effective way than originally proposed. I am especially happy to see changes to the Clean Power Plan that allow early action states, like Delaware, and nuclear power be treated more equitably in the rule. After working for more than a decade on legislative efforts to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, I applaud EPA’s decision to set carbon targets that are both meaningful and feasible.

“Opponents to this rule will argue that we have to choose between having a cleaner, stronger environment and having a robust, growing economy. I believe this is a false choice. EPA has crafted a rule that ensures the benefits far outweigh the costs, ‎and we know that failing to act to address climate change only costs us money in the long run. The Government Accountability Office has already listed climate change as one of the biggest fiscal risks facing our country. Today’s announcement from the EPA is a key step that protects our environment and our economy.

“The Clean Power Plan, along with other actions taken by the Administration, shows the world we are stepping up and addressing our carbon emissions here at home. I am hopeful our nation’s leadership will help drive an international climate agreement in Paris this year – which is critical to addressing this global problem. I applaud the president for his leadership for moving forward with these rules and look forward to defending this rule in Congress.”

The EPA, under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, finalized two rules to reduce carbon pollution from new and existing power plants using the authority under Section 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The EPA also issued a proposal for a federal plan to assist states to meet the Clean Power Plan – this proposal will be finalized next summer. The 111(d) final rule, called the Clean Power Plan, has the largest impacts on current carbon emissions. The Clean Power Plan sets carbon emission limits for existing coal and natural gas facilities along with state-specific carbon goals starting in 2022 and ending in 2030 – allowing states to work individually or regionally to meet their goals.

According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan will cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030 based on 2005 emissions. That is more than the annual emissions of more than 150 million cars or the emissions to power over half the homes in America. With additional energy efficiency incentives, this rule is expected to save the average American family about $85 annually on their energy bill by 2030.