BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — GASP commends the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Barack Obama for putting forth a draft of a new rule to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. The EPA estimates the reduction in carbon emissions will prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths annually. The long-awaited rule also presents a huge opportunity to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy and find innovative ways to move to a greener economy.
Power plants are required to limit emissions of certain toxins, such as mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals. However, there are no limits on the amount of carbon pollution power plants can release. The EPA’s highly anticipated proposed new rule would reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent nationally below 2005 levels by 2030.
Carbon pollution threatens public health and our very way of life. We’re already paying the price for pollution (e.g., rising cases of asthma). Tackling emissions from coal-fired power plants is the right solution. The EPA’s plan to cap carbon pollution from power plants is the fastest way to make our air healthier while addressing climate change in the process.
Last year, Environment America Research and Policy Center named Alabama Power Company’s James H. Miller Jr. Plant in western Jefferson County the second worst carbon polluter in the nation. Southern Company, Alabama Power’s parent company, ranks third overall in greenhouse gas emissions according the Political Economy Research Institute, behind American Electric Power and Duke Energy.
The Birmingham metro is home to some of the dirtiest air in the nation. Reducing carbon pollution will benefit our health, our environment and our economy.