EDF Urges EPA to Withdraw Harmful Attack on Climate Pollution Standards for New Coal-Fired Power Plants

March 19, 2019
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – March 19, 2019) EDF filed comments with EPA last night urging Administrator Andrew Wheeler to withdraw a proposal that would severely weaken common sense protections against pollution from new coal-fired power plants and would increase Americans’ risk from climate change.

“EPA’s proposal would place no meaningful limits on carbon pollution from new coal-fired power plants, and even gestures towards the possibility of leaving carbon pollution from these plants entirely unregulated.” EDF says in its comments. “Like EPA’s proposed ‘replacement’ for the Clean Power Plan, this Proposal is deeply damaging to public health and welfare, rests on a fatally deficient record, and represents an abdication of EPA’s legal obligations under the Clean Air Act. We urge EPA to withdraw this Proposal and strengthen the current standards to better protect communities from climate and health risks.”

EDF also joined other public health and environmental organizations to file two additional comment letters: the first highlighting the proposal’s total disregard for the urgent threat of climate change, and the second describing why carbon pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants must be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Fossil fuel-fired power plants are among the nation’s largest sources of the harmful pollution that drives climate change. EPA established our first-ever nationwide limits on carbon dioxide pollution from new, modified, and reconstructed fossil fuel-fired power plants in 2015. As the Clean Air Act requires, EPA set the standards at levels that reflect the best demonstrated pollution controls – which, for new coal-fired power plants, includes partial capture and storage of carbon dioxide pollution. These standards have been in full force and effect for more than three years, protecting all Americans from uncontrolled carbon dioxide pollution from new power plants.

In December, then-acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a proposal to significantly weaken the existing protections. Wheeler’s proposal would allow new coal-fired power plants to be built and operated without reducing their carbon dioxide pollution to any meaningful degree. The proposal came mere weeks after EPA closed the comment period on a separate proposal that would severely weaken the Clean Power Plan, America’s only nationwide limit on carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel power plants. Both proposals fly in the face of mounting evidence that we must act to reduce climate pollution, including the Trump administration’s own reports showing that natural disasters are worsening because of climate change and that greenhouse gases have increased by 41 percent since 1990.

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