EPA Sets Timeline for Cleaning Up Largest Sources of Carbon Pollution

Portland, ME—After a year of record high temperatures and extreme weather, and an especially hot, dry summer in Maine, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced its timeline for developing nationwide limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the largest single source of global warming pollution.  EPA won’t propose any actual standards until July 2011, but the Agency said final standards would be issued by May 2012.  

 

“Global warming poses the greatest threat to Maine’s environment, and we need to clean up the oldest and dirtiest power plants to begin to solve the problem,” said Nathaniel Meyer, Field Associate for Environment Maine.  “The sooner we get started cleaning up the largest sources of pollution and transitioning to cleaner energy sources, the better chance we’ll give future generations to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.“

 

Left unchecked, global warming could bring to Maine everything from more unhealthy air days and heat-related deaths to a substantial loss of winter snowpack for skiing and snowmobiling.  And 2010 saw many events—from deadly heat waves in Russia and devastating floods in Pakistan to record high summer temperatures along the East Coast of the United States—that are consistent with the scientific community’s predictions of what we’ll see more of as the planet warms.

 

For years, coal-fired power plants have been allowed to emit unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, which is a major reason why coal-fired power plants are currently the largest single source of carbon pollution nationwide.

 

To help correct this, the EPA announced today that it would propose an initial New Source Performance Standard for carbon pollution from power plants by July 2011 and issue a final rule by May 2012.  The EPA also announced that it would be issuing a draft standard for oil refineries by December 2011 and a final standard by November 2012.

 

Environment Maine strongly urges Senators Snowe and Collins to support and help facilitate this move to clean energy rather than potentially stand in the way. 

 

“Today’s announcement outlined the ‘when’ of EPA’s plans to develop its standards for power plants, but now we’ll need to ensure that EPA gets the ‘what’ right and sets the strongest possible standards, concluded Meyer.”

 

 

Environment Maine is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy group, working to preserve Maine’s open spaces, protect clean air and water, and move the state toward a clean energy future.  www.environmentmaine.org