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Global Warming

News Release: Conservation, clean energy, and labor advocates react to new federal carbon pollution standards to protect Minnesota, address climate change

For Immediate Release: June 2, 2014

Contact: J. Drake Hamilton, Fresh Energy, 651.366.7557, hamilton@fresh-energy.org

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, local conservation, clean energy, and labor advocates said newly announced federal carbon pollution limits for power plants would address the leading cause of climate change and protect public health.

“Carbon pollution standards are critical for protecting the health and safety of millions of Minnesotans and other Americans,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy. “Although the nation has set responsible limits on mercury, arsenic, and soot pollution, these are the first-ever standards to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired existing power plants.”

In Minnesota, the impacts of climate change on natural resources are overwhelming. “The time to act is now,” said Dr. William Faber, biology professor at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and a longtime advocate for natural resource protection. “The federal leadership announced today is important for Minnesota.” he added. “The state must implement these carbon limits to protect our great outdoors, as our quality of life is all about our natural resources, our fish and our wildlife.”

“We support the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act,” said David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The steps we take tomorrow and over the coming months will be vitally important to ensuring this rule works for Minnesota’s workers while also leading the way to a cleaner environment and a more vibrant economy.”

Carbon pollution fuels climate change, triggers more asthma attacks and respiratory disease, worsens air quality, and contributes to more frequent, more destructive, more costly and more deadly extreme weather events. Our nation’s power plants are responsible for 40 percent of the carbon pollution in the United States.

While many states and local communities, including here in Minnesota, have taken action on climate change, this new federal safeguard will set commonsense limits on carbon pollution, inspire investment in infrastructure to protect communities from the climate change impacts they are already experiencing, and spur the kind of innovation that will power America with clean energy in the 21st century. The new safeguards will also give states flexibility to implement plans that increase efficiency, improve resiliency and grow clean energy jobs.

“As states consider their options for complying with the new standards, wind developers will be ready to make more capital investments, which will benefit local communities with jobs and economic development opportunities in addition to the benefits of its zero carbon emissions,” said Joe Sullivan, regional policy manager at Wind on the Wires.

To learn more:

Fact sheets and details about the proposed rule: www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan
More information on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan: www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change
Video on today’s announcement from Administrator Gina McCarthy: www.epa.gov

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Today, local conservation, clean energy, and labor advocates said newly announced federal carbon pollution limits for power plants would address the leading cause of climate change and protect public health.

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