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EPA Standards for Emissions from Existing Fossil Fuel Power Plants Essential to Protect Health

June 02, 2014

“Today the Environmental Protection Agency released its proposed standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. Public Health Institute and its Center for Climate Change & Health applaud this major step in the rollout of the President’s Climate Action Plan announced last June.

"US power plants are the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which drive climate change, yet carbon pollution from existing US power plants does not currently face any federal regulation. The authority and responsibility of the EPA is clear – under the Clean Air Act it can and should regulate to protect the public’s health from carbon pollution.

“As the 2014 National Climate Assessment made clear, climate change threatens health through its impacts on air and water quality, extreme weather events, extreme heat, increased wildfires, changing disease patterns, and impact on agriculture. Coal-based energy generation is also directly responsible for over 20,000 heart attacks and 200,000 asthma attacks annually, resulting in over $100 billion per year in health care costs. Limiting emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants will both mitigate climate change (and its health impacts), and reduce other negative impacts of the fossil fuel-based energy production on health.

“Other nations are watching. Leadership by the US is critical to unlocking international efforts on climate change. Regulation of carbon pollution from existing power plants sends a strong signal to other nations that the US is serious about addressing this critical global health issue.

"PHI urges Congress, business leaders and the public to join us in support of the EPA’s steps to regulate carbon pollution from existing power plants. Clean air and clean energy production are essential to protect the health of Americans."