HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Elected officials, labor organizations, health experts, faith leaders, clean energy businesspeople, and environmental advocates from across the Commonwealth highlighted the myriad benefits of the Environmental Protection Agency's newly-released Clean Power Plan in a telephone press conference hosted by PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy organization. The EPA's Clean Power Plan is the first-ever standard to cut carbon emissions from power plants, the nation's single largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution.
The Clean Power Plan will cut carbon pollution by 32 percent by 2030 (below 2005 levels), providing up to $45 billion in climate and public health benefits, with every $1 invested yielding $7 in benefits from soot and smog reductions alone. The EPA projects these carbon pollution limits will prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths, up to 90,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 300,000 missed work and school days in 2030. In addition, an analysis by the National Resources Defense Council found that Pennsylvania would see the creation of 5,100 jobs under the Clean Power Plan.
"The Clean Power Plan is an essential step toward mitigating climate change and improving air quality," said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of PennFuture. "The Commonwealth must use this opportunity to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon, clean energy future by creating a state-based plan that is both aspirational and well suited to Pennsylvania. Our children's futures depend on it."
"Energy efficiency is the easiest and cheapest first step toward savings on electric bills and a reduced carbon footprint," said Jeaneen Zappa, executive director of Conservation Consultants, Inc. "Residential and commercial buildings combined are responsible for 41 percent of total U.S. energy consumption, and 20 percent of that energy in buildings is being wasted. Consumers large and small will win by embracing the energy efficiency measures that will help define the Clean Power Plan."
"Climate change is the most significant health issue of our century according to the World Health Organization," said Dr. Alan Peterson, emeritus director of environmental and community medicine for Lancaster General Health. "Global warming is related to a broad range of adverse health effects including illnesses and death from extreme heat. It's easy to see why the Clean Power Plan and its goal to reduce carbon pollution and slow the effects of climate change is a win for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable populations."
"Pennsylvania has already cut almost 15 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions in the last decade and now with this long awaited standard on carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants, we can finally get serious about slowing climate change," said Joe Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council. "An easy, cost-effective step would be to update building codes, which could cut electricity consumption by 15 percent and be the centerpiece of our State Implementation Plan."
"The EPA has announced an historic effort to finally slash the largest source global warming pollution in Pennsylvania by putting us on the path towards a future that uses the energy of the sun and movement of the wind to power our home and businesses," said Adam Garber, field director of PennEnvironment.
The final Clean Power Plan rule, released today, reflects a lengthy public comment and review period where the EPA incorporated numerous stakeholder comments.
Using the targets established by the Clean Power Plan, each state must now design and implement a compliance plan based on its unique situation. Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for submitting the Commonwealth's Plan to both the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Environmental Protection Agency.
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998 with offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. The organization's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts; advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level; public education; and assisting citizens in public advocacy.
Contact: Elaine Labalme