6 things every American should know about the Clean Power Plan

Can carbon capture help mitigate the climate impacts of carbon dioxide?

The U.S. will take a big step toward reducing carbon pollution with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

EPA chief outlines benefits of new pollution rules

By EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy



Today, President Obama will unveil the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan — a historic step to cut the carbon pollution driving climate change. Here are six key things every American should know:

1. IT SLASHES THE CARBON POLLUTION FUELING CLIMATE CHANGE.

Carbon pollution from power plants is our nation’s biggest driver of climate change—and it threatens what matters most – the health of our kids, the safety of our neighborhoods, and the ability of Americans to earn a living. The Clean Power Plan sets common sense, achievable state-by-state goals to cut carbon pollution from power plants across the country. Building on proven local and state efforts, the Plan puts our nation on track to cut carbon pollution from the power sector 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, all while keeping energy reliable and affordable.

2. IT PROTECTS FAMILIES’ HEALTH

Cuts to smog and soot that come along with reducing carbon pollution will bring major health benefits for American families. In 2030, this will mean up to 3,600 fewer premature deaths; 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children; 1,700 fewer hospital admissions; and avoiding 300,000 missed days of school and work. The Clean Power Plan is a historic step forward to give our kids and grandkids the cleaner, safer future they deserve.

3. IT PUTS STATES IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

The Clean Power Plan sets uniform carbon pollution standards for power plants across the country—but sets individual state goals based on states’ current energy mix and where they have opportunities to cut pollution. States then customize plans to meet their goals in ways that make sense for their communities, businesses and utilities. States can run their more efficient plants more often, switch to cleaner fuels, use more renewable energy, and take advantage of emissions trading and energy efficiency options.

Because states requested it, EPA is also proposing a model rule states can adopt right away–one that’s cost-effective, guarantees they meet EPA’s requirements, and will let their power plants use interstate trading right away. But states don’t have to use our plan—they can cut carbon pollution in whatever way makes the most sense for them.

The uniform national rates in the Clean Power Plan are reasonable and achievable, because no plant has to meet them alone or all at once. Instead, they have to meet them as part of the grid and over time. In short, the Clean Power Plan puts states in the driver’s seat.

4. IT’S BUILT ON INPUT FROM MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

The Clean Power Plan reflects unprecedented input from the American people, including 4.3 million comments on the draft plan and input from hundreds of meetings with states, utilities, communities, and others. When folks raised questions about equity and fairness, we listened. That’s why EPA is setting uniform standards to make sure similar plants are treated the same across the country. 

When states and utilities expressed concern about how fast states would need to cut emissions under the draft Plan, we listened. That’s why the Clean Power Plan extends the timeframe for mandatory emissions reductions to begin by two years, until 2022, so utilities will have time to make the upgrades and investments they need to.

But to encourage states to stay ahead of the curve and not delay planned investments, or delay starting programs that need time to pay off, we’re creating a Clean Energy Incentive Program to help states transition to clean energy faster. 

It’s a voluntary matching fund program states can use to encourage early investment in wind and solar power projects, as well as energy efficiency projects in low-income communities. Thanks to the valuable input we heard from the public, the final rule is even more fair and more flexible, while cutting more pollution.

5. IT WILL SAVE US BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR

With the Clean Power Plan, America is leading by example — showing the world that climate action is an incredible economic opportunity. By 2030, the net public health and climate-related benefits from the Clean Power Plan are estimated to be worth $45 billion every year. And, by design, the Clean Power Plan is projected to cut the average American’s monthly electricity bill by 7 percent in 2030. We’ll get these savings by cutting energy waste and beefing up energy efficiency across the board—steps that make sense for our health, our future, and our wallets.

6. IT PUTS THE U.S. IN A POSITION TO LEAD ON CLIMATE ACTION



Today, the U.S. is generating three times more wind energy and 20 times more solar power than when President Obama took office. And the solar industry is adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.

For the first time in nearly three decades, we’re importing less foreign oil than we’re producing domestically—and using less overall. 

Our country’s clean energy transition is happening faster than anyone anticipated—even as of last year when we proposed this rule. The accelerating trend toward clean power, and the growing success of energy efficiency efforts, mean carbon emissions are already going down, and the pace is picking up.

The Clean Power Plan will secure and accelerate these trends, building momentum for a cleaner energy future.
Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution. With the Clean Power Plan, we’re putting America in a position to lead. Since the Plan was proposed last year, the U.S., China and Brazil – three of the world’s largest economies – have announced commitments to significantly reduce carbon pollution. We’re confident other nations will come to the table ready to reach an international climate agreement in Paris later this year.

Vermont study paints nuanced picture of GMO labeling effects

Some colorful cereal. I had never tasted these until a friend of my son's came for a sleepover and brought these along because they don't have any wheat in them. Anyone venture to guess what kind they are?

Does your favorite cereal include GMO ingredients?

Labeling may actually reduce opposition to GMOs among some demographic groups

Staff Report

FRISCO — A new Vermont study suggests that consumers don’t necessarily see GMO lables on food as a negative warning. In some cases, such labels may actually increase consumer confidence, the researchers said after analyzing five years worth of data.

A new study released just days after the U.S. House passed a bill that would prevent states from requiring labels on genetically modified foods reveals that GMO labeling would not act as warning labels and scare consumers away from buying products with GMO ingredients.

The statewide survey was focused on two key questions: whether Vermonters are opposed to GMO’s in commercially available food products; and if respondents thought products containing GMO’s should be labeled. Continue reading

Federal court shuts Tongass national forest roadless loophole

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Coastal section of Tongass rainforest, via USFS.

Country’s largest rainforest to be protected from destructive logging

Staff Report

FRISCO — A federal court has overturned yet another lawless environmental decision made by the former Bush administration by striking down a huge roadless rule exemption for logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest — thew country’s largest.

Conservation groups hailed the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit as a major victory for efforts to preserve southeast Alaska’s environment. The national roadless rule, issued in 2001, protected about 60 million acres of public lands across the country, which the Bush administration promptly tried to undermine with all sorts of administrative exemptions. Continue reading

Global warming could unravel UK’s peatland ecosystems

Vast areas of peatlands in the UK are at risk from climate change. Photo via the IUCN.

Vast areas of peatlands in the UK are at risk from climate change. Photo via the IUCN.

More research showing the cascading ecosystem impacts of climate change

Staff Report

FRISCO — Plovers, grouse and other bird species will suffer as global warming changes the hydrology of the UK’s far-reaching blanket bogs, scientists warned after developing a model that shows how climate change will play out in those wetland ecosystems.

The University of York researchers also warmed that the changes could also put drinking water supplies at risk. Warmer temperatures will lead to peat decomposition and altered rainfall patterns, including summer droughts, which could drastically affecting the blanket bog hydrology.

Continue reading

Yellowstone National Park taking more input on winter use

Snowmobile use in National Parks is strictly managed, like this tour in Yellowstone, but in some national forests, more management is needed to protect the environment and make sure there are opportunities for quiet, non-motorized use.

Snowmobile use in National Parks is strictly managed, like this tour in Yellowstone, but in some national forests, more management is needed to protect the environment and make sure there are opportunities for quiet, non-motorized use.

Adaptive management plan requires ongoing monitoring and public involvement

Staff Report

FRISCO — National Park rangers in Yellowstone are still grappling with winter use rules in an effort to balance protection of resources with recreation. As part the efforts to finalize an ongoing adaptive management plan, Yellowstone will hold an Aug. 10 public meeting to take more input. The meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center in West Yellowstone, Montana.

The draft plan under discussion outlines a strategy to identify which affected resources should be most closely monitored and evaluated, how these resources should be monitored, and how the NPS will continually engage the public throughout the process. It was developed with input from working groups comprised of members of the public who contribute expertise across six impact topics. Continue reading

New fungus threatens North American salamanders

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The Ensatina salamander, a lungless salamander common along the west coast of the US, is one of hundreds of species of salamanders endemic to North America threatened by a new fungal pathogen from Asia. Photo via Tiffany Yap.

Scientists call for ban on imports

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal wildlife officials are dragging their feet by failing to implement a ban on salamander imports from Asia, scientists said this week, explaining that a devastating fungus is likely to spread into the U.S. via the pet trade.

The new malady is closely related to chytrid fungus, which has been implicated in the massive die-off of frogs and toads around the world. The salamander fungus has already spread across parts of Europe, where it has resulted in a 96 percent fatality rate among the European salamander species that it infected.

Salamanders are an important part of forest ecosystems but also a popular pet worldwide. Nearly three quarters of a million salamanders were imported into the U.S. between 2010 and 2014, 99 percent of them from Asia, where the fungus likely originated. Recent studies have shows that at least two U.S. salamander species are very susceptible to the new pathogen. Continue reading

NOAA to webcast deep-sea explorations

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer systematically explores the deep oceans of the world. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer systematically explores the deep oceans of the world. (Credit: NOAA)

Research voyage begins Aug. 1; scientists say they expect to find new species

Staff Report

FRISCO — Ocean enthusiasts will have a chance to do some armchair exploring the next few months as NOAA scientists deploy unmanned submarines to explore protected areas in the central Pacific Ocean.

Starting Aug. 1, anyone with an internet connection can join the expedition in real time at oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. NOAA’s research ship, the Okeanos Explorer, will visit deeper waters in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Continue reading

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