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MI LCV Calls for Public Support for Transition to Clean Energy

Ann Arbor, MI – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LVC) and Moms Clean Air Force are calling for public support and comment on proposed rules by the EPA to reduce harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution according to the Michigan LVC. There more than 1600 fossil fueled fired electric power plants in the United States. Through a statewide campaign, the Michigan LCV hopes to mobilize Michigan citizens in support of the stronger air quality standards.

Since June, the EPA is taking public comment and working with states and other stakeholders to refine and improve its proposal before finalizing it in June 2015. “Now that EPA has issued the Clean Power Plan, it’s our job to make it stick and make it stronger,” said David Doniger, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Climate and Clean Air Program.

With only a few weeks left for citizens to show their support for the new rules be ‘signing on’to the proposed rule changes using the form linked at the bottom of this article.

“We have an obligation to take action on climate change and the EPA’s proposed rules are a common sense solution that will build upon Michigan’s clean energy success story, spark clean energy sector investment and ensure our Great Lakes, rivers and streams are clean for future generations,” said Jack Schmitt, Deputy Director for Michigan LCV.

Coal-fired power plants are not currently held to carbon emissions standards, yet they are responsible for 40 percent of the carbon pollution in the United States, according to the Michigan LVC. Left unchecked, emissions from power plants will continue to fuel climate change and increase harmful pollution that is already contributing to respiratory diseases such as asthma and tainting rivers, streams and the Great Lakes.

“Stronger air quality protections are critically important for all Michiganders, and for the health of future generations,” said Wibke Heymach, Program Manager for Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF). “We can no longer pass the buck to our children and their children to combat climate change. We must rise to the challenge and curb carbon emissions before it’s too late.”

NRDC has a developed a fact sheet on what the proposed rules set out to achieve, with the following highlights:

  • a flexible approach that allows for significant emissions reductions at low cost
  • EPA sets targets for each state to reduce the “carbon intensity” of the state’s power plant fleet (Carbon intensity is measured in pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per megawatt-hour of electricity generated).
  • a reduction of pollution that leads to soot and smog by over 25 percent in 2030
  • The EPA’s proposal calculates an emission target for each state that respects differences in states’ power generation mix and utilizes a wide range of effective tools to cut carbon pollution. The EPA estimates the national impact of meeting the state targets will be to reduce national power sector CO2 emissions 26% below 2005 emissions by 2020 and 30% by 2030.

    The four emission reduction tools the EPA is using to set the state targets are:

  • Making existing coal plants more efficient.
  • Using existing gas plants more effectively.
  • Increasing generation from renewables and nuclear plants.
  • Increasing energy efficiency in homes, appliances, buildings, and other end uses.
  • According to NRDC Climate and Clean Air Campaign Director, Washington, D.C., Pete Altman, this proposal will “set the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants [with input] pouring in from all over the country, from all kinds of voices.”

    “The coal lobby – the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and their buddies at the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce-basically isolated in their opposition to cleaning up dirty power,” said Altman.

    The Michigan LCV field program is working to solidify support for the carbon pollution standards and engage Michigan citizens on clean energy and climate change issues throughout the state. Field staff in five key areas of the state have been working throughout the summer to build grassroots support for the rule and Michigan’s clean energy policies.

    Following the timetable established under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan last year, the EPA is to issue the final standards by June 1, 2015.

    Each state then must submit a state implementation plan to EPA by June 30, 2016. The EPA is providing for conditional approval of a plan in some circumstances, with additional time allowed where needed to complete state rulemaking or legislative activities, or to develop multi-state plans.

    Michigan residents who wish to show their support of the new proposed rules are encouraged to visit the Michigan LCV’s ‘Act on Climate’ Sign On Page.

    JD Sullivan

    JD Sullivan is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Green Action News. He has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism/Mass Communication. JD is passionate about journalism & sustainable living.

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