North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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Attorney General Josh Stein Calls on EPA to Withdraw Plans to Weaken Emissions Standards for Coal Power Plants

Release date: 3/19/2019

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw its proposal to weaken federal standards that limit greenhouse gas emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed coal-fired power plants. If finalized, the proposal would replace the current standards established in 2015 and allow for increased carbon dioxide pollution and accelerated climate change.
 
“Climate change is happening, and we have a responsibility to fight it and protect our planet for future generations,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This new proposal will make that harder by allowing coal-fired power plants to increase greenhouse gas emissions. I urge the EPA to withdraw it and keep the current protections in place.”
 
Since the EPA’s publication of the rule it now proposes to eliminate, our planet has experienced the warmest year on record. Under the EPA’s new proposal, a new coal-fired plant would be able to emit 35 percent more carbon dioxide than it could under current law. This failure to reduce and eliminate carbon dioxide emissions intensifies the harms of climate change and environmental damage and risks thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. 
 
In their letter, the coalition of 20 attorneys general and seven local governments points out a number of alarming issues with the EPA’s proposal:
 

  • The proposal is arbitrary and violates the Clean Air Act by running counter to the EPA’s evidence of the best and achievable system of emission reduction.
  • A new coal-fired plant would be able to meet the proposed weakened standard even if it did not use any carbon dioxide controls at all.
  • The EPA provides inaccurate costs of meeting the 2015 emission standards, and ignores the increased environmental harms that could result from changing the emission standard.
  • The EPA fails to justify reversing its finding that carbon storage capacity, used by new coal plants to meet the current standard, is sufficiently available and accessible throughout the country.
  • The EPA has not provided enough information to permit the public to comment meaningfully.
Attorney General Stein is joined in sending today’s comments by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (by and through its Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the Maryland Department of the Environment, the county of Broward, and the cities of Boulder, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and South Miami.
 
A copy of the comments can be found here.
 
More on Attorney General Stein’s work to prevent climate change:

 
Contact:

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

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