(New York, NY – January 9, 2018) The state of New York hosted its own public meeting today about Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan – the country’s only nationwide limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Elizabeth Stein, an Environmental Defense Fund attorney and mom, was among those testifying in support of the plan and its health benefits for New Yorkers.
“I’m a fourth generation New Yorker … Two members of my household suffer from asthma, a condition that can be exacerbated by ozone and particulate matter pollution,” Stein testified, citing two pollutants whose levels would decrease under the Clean Power Plan. “A recent study found that 2,700 annual premature deaths could be tied to [particulate matter] and ozone pollution in [New York] City.”
Pruitt has proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Air Act mandates that EPA give concerned Americans an opportunity to verbally present their views to EPA officials before deciding about a repeal. Multiple cities and states around the country offered to host public hearings on the issue so their citizens could weigh – but the agency has held only one public hearing about the proposed repeal so far.
Now, in the absence of official EPA public hearings, some states are holding their own public meetings and listening sessions. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York City Mayor’s Office hosted one today at the New School in Manhattan. Stein testified there about the threat New Yorkers face from climate change – a threat the Clean Power Plan was created to address.
“Here in New York, we are seeing the kinds of events that become more intense and frequent with climate change with increasing frequency, most memorably in the case of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy,” said Stein in her testimony. “Climate change also increases the frequency of extreme winter weather events, including major snowstorms … Of the six heaviest snowfalls ever recorded in New York City, half have occurred during the lifetime of my oldest child, who turns 15 today.”
You can read Stein’s full testimony here.
Delaware held a public meeting about the proposed Clean Power Plan repeal yesterday, and Pennsylvania and Maryland have planned public meetings for later this week.
EPA has promised to hold three more listening sessions in San Francisco, Kansas City, and Gillette, Wyoming. However dates for those hearings have not been announced, and the public comment period for the proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan is scheduled to end in a week – on Tuesday, January 16.
The Clean Power Plan is the single biggest step America has ever taken to address the growing threat of climate change. EPA’s own analysis shows the Clean Power Plan would prevent as many as 4,500 deaths from air pollution and 90,000 childhood asthma attacks each year. It would also support America’s booming clean energy sector – a rapidly growing, $200 billion sector employing more than three million people.
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