WASHINGTON – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) led eleven Senators in calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen its proposed Clean Power Plan to achieve even greater reductions of carbon pollution. In the first major congressional call to further strengthen the plan from its existing targets, the Senators emphasized that it is essential for the plan to hit the target levels of emissions reductions necessary to avoid the most harmful effects of climate change.
Merkley and Schatz were joined by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the Senators wrote: “The Clean Power Plan will be the single most significant step this country has ever taken to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector, so it is essential that it be done right. For the Clean Power Plan to be a success, it must achieve the level of emissions reductions that the science calls for to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.”
The Senators emphasized that current technology and market conditions make it possible to deploy renewable energy more aggressively to cut carbon pollution even further from the first draft of the Clean Power Plan. In a detailed appendix to the letter, the Senators laid out specific areas within the proposal where the draft rule can be strengthened.
The text of the letter can be read below and a signed copy of the letter and full appendix can be found here.
December 9, 2014
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
We commend the EPA for using its authority under the Clean Air Act to propose the Clean Power Plan—a flexible and practical approach to reduce carbon emissions from the electrical generation sector. The need for national action to reduce carbon emissions is essential to the United States taking responsibility for curbing its carbon emissions.
While the emission reduction goals of the Clean Power Plan are laudable, we believe that with modest changes to reflect real-world market and technological conditions, the plan can, and should, achieve even greater emissions reductions. Specifically, this letter includes recommendations in its Appendix that would result in more renewable energy (under Building Block Three) and energy efficiency (under Building Block Four) being deployed than is currently accounted for under the draft plan.
The Clean Power Plan will be the single most significant step this country has ever taken to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector, so it is essential that it be done right. For the Clean Power Plan to be a success, it must achieve the level of emissions reductions that the science calls for to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change. Maximizing the deployment of cost-effective renewable energy and energy efficiency will be the key to achieve the necessary emissions reductions. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan can meet these objectives by making the modifications to the plan outlined in this letter.
We look forward to continue to work with you on this important and historic proposal to combat climate change. Attached is an appendix that provides greater detail on the recommendations made in this letter.