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For Immediate Release, September 15, 2011

Contact: Kassie Siegel, (951) 961-7972

Despite Mounting Climate Crisis, EPA Delays Cuts for Greenhouse Gases

SAN FRANCISCO— Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said today the EPA will not meet a court-imposed deadline to propose rules for limiting greenhouse gas pollution from power plants. Earlier this month, after intense lobbying from polluting industries and pressure by Republicans, President Barack Obama ordered the EPA to abandon badly needed plans to reduce smog that had been in the works for years.

“Put simply, every delay of long-overdue rules to curb pollution costs lives and pushes us deeper into this climate crisis,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Our climate is changing rapidly and dramatically all around us, and the need for an effective response has never been more urgent. Yet this administration continues to delay taking even the most modest steps. Climate change is not going to wait and see who wins the next election, and neither should the EPA.”

The EPA is under a court deadline to release plans to limit greenhouse gases from power plants by Sept. 30. Reuters reported this morning that EPA Administrator Jackson said on the sidelines of an event in San Francisco: “Greenhouse gases for power plants is first on the docket…Although we are not going to make the date at the end of the month, we are still working and will be shortly announcing a new schedule.”

“The disastrous effects of climate change are already setting in. Just this year, we’ve seen terrible floods, heat waves, wildfires and epic drought. Climate change is here and desperately needs action, not more delay,” said Siegel.

The EPA was also proposing to tighten standards for ozone — a major component of smog — from 2008 Bush-era levels that ignored the advice of the agency's own scientists and were set at a level too high to protect public health. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies stated that the EPA’s own data show that the delay in new smog rules will result in more than 8,500 premature deaths, more than 45,000 cases of aggravated asthma, at least 1.5 million missed work or school days, and more than 5 million cases where citizens will need to restrict their activities.

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