For Immediate Release, November 7, 2013

Contact: Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351, 

74 Cities Urge Ambitious Climate Action as Obama Administration Ponders Power Plant Pollution Rules

Advocates to Present Resolutions at EPA Listening Session in Washington

WASHINGTON— Advocates for climate action today are presenting Obama administration officials with resolutions from 74 cities urging ambitious use of the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

The resolutions — passed by city councils in Washington, Baltimore, Detroit, Nashville and dozens of other communities as part of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Clean Air Cities campaign — are being delivered at an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing on proposals to reduce power plant carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The hearing runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at EPA headquarters, room 1153 of the William Jefferson Clinton East building, 1201 Constitution Ave. NW. 

“More than 70 local governments representing more than 43 million people are urging President Obama to make ambitious use of the Clean Air Act to stave off climate change’s worst impacts,” said Bill Snape, the Center’s senior counsel. “These communities are all too aware of the threat they face from heat waves, storm surges and drought. To protect our future, the president and the EPA must curb the unlimited carbon pollution spewing out of power plants.”

The EPA is holding “listening sessions” around the country on the creation of rules to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants. The sessions coincide with the release of the United Nations’ latest emissions gap report, which found that delays in pollution reduction are making it increasingly challenging to avert catastrophic global temperature increases. The United States was one of the nations singled out as requiring "further action" to meet its modest emissions goals.

Similarly, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report found that carbon pollution is heating up the planet and increasing many regions’ danger from heat waves, floods and damaging storms, creating a climate crisis that threatens people and wildlife around the globe.

In September the EPA released a proposal under the Clean Air Act to curb greenhouse gas pollution from future power plants. Unfortunately that proposal would only make modest cuts to power plant emissions over the coming years, even as scientists point to alarming new evidence of the growing risks of climate change. 

“President Obama has a huge opportunity here to issue an ambitious Clean Air Act proposal to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from existing power plants,” Snape said. “If he’s serious about tackling the climate crisis, timid half-measures won’t do the job.”

The Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign is working across the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and its ability to reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. The resolutions call on President Barack Obama and the EPA to take swift action to address climate change.

Resolutions have been approved in 74 U.S. communities: Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Red Hook and Yonkers, N.Y.; Bloomfield and Hartford, Conn.; Albany, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Arcata, Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Richmond, Culver City, San Francisco, San Leandro, Fairfax, West Hollywood, Oakland and Los Angeles, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Nashville, Tenn.; Kauai and Honolulu, Hawaii; New Hope Borough, Pittsburgh, Carlisle and Philadelphia, Pa.; Tucson, Ariz.; Chapel Hill and Boone, N.C.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.; Newton, Cambridge, Amherst, Newburyport, Northampton and Concord, Mass.; Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio; Keene, N.H.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Kansas City, Mo.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, South Miami, Pinecrest, Tampa, Hallandale Beach, Gulfport, Broward County, Monroe County, St. Petersburg, Key West and West Palm Beach, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Teton County, Wyo.; Eugene, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; Burlington, Vt.; Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich.; Wilmington, Del.; Providence, R.I.; Gary, Ind.; Woodbridge, N.J.; Portland, Maine; Baltimore, Md.; Arlington County and Charlottesville, Va.; and Washington, D.C. Several other cities around the country will be considering resolutions over the next few months.

Learn more about the Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign and get the facts about the Clean Air Act.

Read Bill Snape's testimony here.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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