WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife and a co-chair of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, applauded the proposed limits from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on carbon pollution from power plants – major contributor global climate change. The proposed rules would reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30 percent, using 2005 as the emissions baseline, by 2030. The U.S. is the second largest contributor of global carbon pollution and power plants contribute 38% of U.S. carbon emissions.
“Strong but flexible carbon pollution standards for power plants are needed and welcome news for America’s clean energy future. For years we have had power plant standards that protect our communities from air pollutants like lead and mercury. We are finally seeing similar standards for the carbon pollution that is fueling climate change, the biggest threat to life on Earth as we know it,” said Senator Cardin, “Science tells us climate change is real. It is a threat to our environment but also a public health issue, economic issue and a national security issue. The good news is that the solutions to each of these challenges are intertwined. The notion that we must choose between economic growth and environmental protection is just plain wrong.
“The bold goals set by the Obama Administration today are achievable and will help grow our economy. Already, the U.S. is creating good-paying domestic clean energy jobs to help mitigate the causes of climate change, increase energy efficiency, reduce our carbon footprint and better prepare us for the extreme weather. Where leadership is willing, we are making strides to green our infrastructure, as well as restore and integrate natural defenses against sea level rise and extreme weather. The U.S. must continue to lead globally and by example. Pollution, storms and droughts do not abide by border signs.
“In Maryland, where 70 percent of Marylanders live in coastal zones, we have some of the strictest air pollution standards in the country. We have seen our strong rules contribute to healthier communities and new jobs from a growing economy. The federal standards just announced are important not only in the fight against climate change, but also in our push toward a healthier Chesapeake Bay that fuels our regional economy.”
The Supreme Court has upheld EPA’s authority to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act in two landmark cases: Massachusetts v. EPA (2007), which affirmed EPA’s standing to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act by remanding EPA to promulgate an “endangerment finding” for greenhouse gases (on June 26, 2012, in Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit Court unanimously upheld EPA’s endangerment finding) and American Electric Power Company v. Connecticut (2011) which was a unanimous SCOTUS decision which held that corporations cannot be sued for carbon emissions under federal common law, because the Clean Air Act holds EPA responsible for the regulation of carbon pollution, which at the time of that case EPA was not doing, thus setting the stage for Monday’s rule.