Rhode Island’s renewable energy industry is sure to benefit from the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan, said Abel Collins, program director of the Rhode Island chapter of the Sierra Club.
“The new EPA Carbon Rules are great news for Rhode Islanders, because the coal burning fire plants in the Midwest that have been poisoning our air for decades will either be closed down or cleaned up, preferably shuttered for good,” Collins said. “That will mean significant public health benefits, healthcare savings, and that’s even before we look at the climate impacts. Rhode Island’s economy is poised to capitalize on renewable energy development, and the planet will be better for it.”
Seeking a 30 percent cut in power plant emissions by 2030, the New York Times called President Obama’s executive order that the EPA tighten regulations on coal-based power plants “one of the strongest actions ever taken by the United States government to fight climate change.” It’s called the Clean Power Plan.
State Rep. Art Handy, primary sponsor of the Resilient RI bill that would develop a plan to address climate change said:
“While there has been much hand wringing about the new rule from the coal industry and their allies about these reasonable new rules, the truth is they will spur innovation in clean energy and efficiency, prevent thousands of deaths and millions of asthma attacks and will move our country in the right direction to reduce the impact of climate change on our economy and our society. Rhode Island with other northeastern states already started on this path with the successful RGGI program – the new rules will bring the rest of the country along with what we have been working towards for years.”
Channing Jones, campaign director of Environment Rhode Island said: “This announcement is exactly what we’ve been waiting for. EPA’s announcement is a huge win for the health of our families and our environment.”
He added, “The dirty energy companies that oppose this move may question the science and predict economic apocalypse if we act. They can make up whatever claims they want. But a cleaner, more energy-efficient economy and environment is not going to undermine our prosperity. In fact, our kids’ future depends on it.”
Jones’ comments echoed a post Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse wrote for Vice News, published Sunday night:
Sight unseen, the polluters have been characterizing the rules as part of a “war on coal” that will kill jobs and impose unfair costs on industry. Don’t believe them.
Their claims are exaggerated at best, and flat-out lies at worst — and they look at only one side of the ledger, ignoring the effects of carbon pollution on the rest of us.
The EPA proposal, according to Vox “will set different emissions targets for each state — which, when taken together, will aim to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from the nation’s power sector as much as 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.” After a one-year period to finalize and tweak the new rule, Rhode Island and other states will have until June 2016 to develop a plan to reduce emissions. “States will be given a variety of options for cutting their emissions — using more efficient technology at coal plants, boosting their use of solar or wind or nuclear power, or even joining regional cap-and-trade systems that require companies to pay to emit carbon-dioxide.”