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For Immediate Release, March 27, 2012

Contact: Kassie Siegel, (760) 366-2232 x 302

EPA Proposes Cuts to Industrial Carbon Pollution

Standards Make Important Strides in Cutting Future Pollution But Leave Existing Polluters Without Limits

WASHINGTON— U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced new Clean Air Act standards today to reduce industrial carbon pollution from power plants. The new standards, however, apply only to plants built in the future; they do not cover existing power plants. The standards also exempt new industrial plants that burn “biomass” such as trees. Although biomass plants actually emit more carbon at the smokestack than most fossil-fueled facilities, the rule allows their construction without even minimal industrial carbon controls.

“Today’s rule makes important strides in reducing carbon pollution from future power plants, but unfortunately gives existing polluters a free pass,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “While the long-delayed release of this critically important pollution reduction rule is welcome, it should be strengthened.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a warning by scientists on Monday that this decade will be critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid tipping points that will make the world irreversibly hotter. The disastrous effects of climate change are already setting in, as evidenced by recent floods, heat waves, melting sea ice, wildfires and epic drought — all of which are affecting people and wildlife around the globe.

“If we’re going to avert a climate catastrophe, the response must match the magnitude of the crisis we face. Today’s rule is an important step forward, but much more is needed,” Siegel said.

Cities around the country are urging action on global warming. The Center recently launched “Clean Air Cities,” a nationwide campaign urging cities around the United States to call on the Obama administration and the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. So far, more than a dozen cities — including Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Minneapolis — have signed on.

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