For Immediate Release, September 30, 2009
Obama Administration Takes Another Step Toward Curbing Greenhouse Gas Pollution
LOS ANGELES— U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced another step towards curbing greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act. The EPA proposal will require large industrial facilities that emit more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year to obtain permits covering these emissions. These permits must demonstrate the use of the best available emissions-control technologies and energy efficiency measures to minimize greenhouse gas emissions when facilities are constructed or significantly modified.
“Today, the Obama administration has taken another step to implement the Clean Air Act, our nation’s strongest and most successful tool for reducing greenhouse pollution,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But with global warming accelerating, the administration should be moving more quickly to achieve all the benefits that the Clean Air Act offers.”
The EPA proposal would require reductions first from facilities that emit more than 25,000 tons per year of greenhouse gases, while it studies implementing reductions at facilities that emit less than 25,000 tons per year. The agency will also accept comments on whether it should require reductions effective immediately or beginning in March 2010, when it expects to finalize its proposal to regulate greenhouse gases from automobiles.
“There is no reason to wait until spring 2010 to curb greenhouse emissions from big coal and big oil, and there is every reason to move now,” said Siegel. “The Clean Air Act has protected the air we breathe for four decades and is a critically important tool for solving the climate crisis. The Obama administration should remove the Bush-era roadblocks and move forward with greenhouse pollution reductions immediately.”
According to the EPA, in 2010, the Clean Air Act will save 23,000 lives and prevent 1.7 million asthma attacks, 4.1 million lost work days, and more than 68,000 hospitalizations and emergency room visits. And in its first two decades alone, the Act provided benefits 42 times greater than the estimated costs of regulation, including decreased healthcare costs and reduced lost work time worth $22.2 trillion. Similar benefits can be expected from greenhouse gas reductions.