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Cutting carbon pollution from power plants (mosaic-blog.s3.amazonaws.com)
Cutting carbon pollution from power plants (mosaic-blog.s3.amazonaws.com)

Air Quality

One Month Left To Tell EPA We Need Cleaner Air (VIDEO)

The comment period on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan rules now has only 30 days to go. Public observations on the plan will only be accepted by the agency until December 1, 2014. You may already know about how to submit your views to the federal government, in which case you can either skip this article or pass it on to someone who wants to comment but does not know how. If you want a quick refresher, look no farther.

Cutting carbon pollution from power plants (mosaic-blog.s3.amazonaws.com)

The proposed rules are part of the Climate Action Plan, a national plan for tackling climate change announced on June 25, 2013, by President Obama. As described on the EPA website here, the proposal will cut carbon pollution nationwide from power plants by 30% from 2005 levels. At the same time, carbon limits will reduce soot pollution by over 25% by 2030.

Health benefits of Clean Power Plan (sierra club.typepad.com)

As many as 6,600 premature deaths and up to 150,000 asthma attacks will can prevented over that time. The combineclimate and health benefits are projected to range from $55 and $93 billion by 2030. The agency has built flexibility into this plan: by filing an individual State Implementation Plan, each state can decide how to best meet its own specific goals.

The single biggest source of carbon pollution = power plants, 40% of total (static.edf.org)This comment period is the best time—and the only official opportunity—to register your view with the government on EPA’s limits on carbon pollution, whichever way you feel. You can submit your thoughts by email, fax, or letter.

Like me, many believe that with these new directions, EPA has taken a sensible first step to guide our use (and misuse) of traditional energy-producing fossil fuels. The new rules will help protect the world from some of the bad effects of climate change. Some feel the rules are overdue. Others say the government has no right to regulate the air we breathe, although private concerns are free to pollute it.

The official process works according to a strict schedule that was figured out at the time the rules were proposed. For details on how the process works, consult the informative Q&A in the Federal Register’s Guide to the Rulemaking Process at this websiteYou may have seen online petitions about the plan. These formula responses, pro and con, will also be submitted to the government.

Here’s more information from the Federal Register:

How do public comments affect the proposed rule? (federal register.gov)

All submissions to EPA from you must include the agency name and docket ID number (EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602). The EPA’s policy is to include all comments received without change, including any personal information provided, in the public docket, available online here. (Please be aware that although the instructions on that page specify “Comments must be received on or before October 16, 2014,” as you can see on the right-hand side of the page and confirmed elsewhere, the due date actually extends to December 1, 2014.)

As widely reported, and as you probably know, oil and gas interests and power companies have very deep pockets to fund organized opposition to any government rules they do not support. They also have a long history of obfuscation and denial on the topic of fossil fuels.

Even Shell and other mega-petro producers now quietly acknowledge that they must prepare their operations for climate change. Many have already figured it into their own business plans and alerted stockholders, although publicly they seem to ignore the need to conserve these finite resources and find other energy solutions.

Over a million comments (1,190,314) have already been submitted. Backers of the agency’s plan know that registering support during the official comment period is the very best thanksgiving we can offer for an environment that has supported humanity, plants, and animals over all these years.

Sharing our concerns about climate change, the impacts it may cause in our daily lives, and ideas for how to minimize and adapt to it with each other, we can get ready for what we are likely to face in future. Denial will get us nowhere, and the way impacts are piling up—as glacier and pack ice are melting—we’re going nowhere pretty fast.

Only by showing outstanding support of these first-ever American limits on climate-disrupting carbon pollution will ordinary citizens succeed in outshouting the powerful voices that keep lulling us into ignoring the obvious. Make your voice heard!

 
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Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

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