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The upcoming power plant rules: NRDC's role

Jordan Kessler

Posted May 16, 2014

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On and after June 2, there's bound to be a lot of media attention to the EPA's new carbon pollution standards for the nation's fleet of existing power plants, and there has already been a lot of press coverage. I can tell you that NRDC has played an important part in the development of the standards, but don't just take my word for it. Here's what some major media sources have had to say about our role:

“U.S. President Barack Obama plans to personally unveil proposed carbon-emissions rules for power plants, elevating climate change policy as a top tier issue for his final two years in office, according to two people familiar with White House strategy….The Natural Resources Defense Council is among environmental groups pushing the EPA to impose strict limits on greenhouse-gas emissions from the plants. Just after Obama was re-elected, the NRDC issued the most detailed proposal for how the EPA could use regulations under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions from the plants.” – Bloomberg Businessweek, 5/15/14

“…the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has had a strong voice in efforts to shape President Obama’s climate change agenda, sent the Environmental Protection Agency a proposal that it contends will lead to cuts of 470 million to 700 million tons of carbon pollution per year in 2020, the equivalent of emissions from 95 million to 130 million automobiles. The numbers are an update of a model regulation that the group sent to the E.P.A. in 2012, which the group contended would cut carbon pollution by 270 million tons annually. According to people involved in the process of writing the rules, that earlier proposal has significantly shaped the E.P.A.'s approach to building the climate plan.” – New York Times, 3/20/14

“In his speech, Mr. Obama said he would use executive powers to limit the carbon dioxide that power plants could emit….The administration’s thinking appears to have been influenced by a proposal from an environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council. The group urged a creative approach, calling on the federal government to set a target level of greenhouse gases for each state, taking account of historical patterns. A state generating a lot of power from coal, then exporting it to other states, would not be unduly penalized, for instance. As the environmental group envisions it, states would meet their goals by tweaking the overall electrical system, not just by cracking down on individual power plants. States might urge companies to produce more renewable power, for instance, but they could also retrofit homes and businesses to reduce energy waste, or encourage the use of clean-burning natural gas instead of coal. States would presumably be allowed to use market signals, like a price on greenhouse emissions, to achieve their goals, as California and nine Northeastern states are already doing.” – New York Times, 6/25/13

Let's hope there continues to be (positive) coverage of the standards going forward, and that they survive the inevitable attacks that will be mounted against them. You can act now to help by sending a message to the EPA (just click where it says "Limit Carbon Pollution").

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