Calling on Obama to Set Firm Schedule for New Standards for Carbon Pollution

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was delaying the proposal of new standards for global warming pollution from power plants. Today I joined with 18 other environmental leaders in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to set a new schedule for the prompt release of these standards without delay.

We want the administration to make a firm commitment to complete new carbon limits for new and existing power plants in 2012. It would be unacceptable to punt on the EPA’s responsibility to protect our families from dangerous pollution—the way it did when it abandoned stronger smog protections earlier this month.

The United States is already past due on climate action. The Supreme Court has ruled twice that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to protect Americans from carbon pollution.

Meanwhile, extreme weather events have battered American communities this year, from the floods that ravaged the Mississippi River Basin to the Texas wildfires that have consumed hundreds of homes and cost the state’s agricultural industry nearly $200 million in losses. These intense and costly weather patterns will become the norm if we fail to reduce global warming pollution.

But if we move forward and modernize our energy infrastructure, we can combat climate change as well as protect our health, save families and small businesses money through clean energy and more efficient use of electricity, and create thousands of new jobs.

The Republican mythology that clean air protections are crushing small businesses quickly erodes under scrutiny. A national opinion poll of 1,200 small business owners released today confirms once again how false those claims are.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found that despite all the GOP hype only 13 percent of small business owners think regulations are the biggest problem they face right now. Indeed, the poll found that:

  • 87 percent of small business leaders say that spurring innovation and improving energy efficiency will increase prosperity for small businesses
  • 76 percent support regulations for carbon pollution, and
  • 80 percent support raising fuel efficiency standards to 60 mpg by 2025.

These business leaders know that reducing dangerous pollution and updating our energy fleet will bring America greater prosperity. That is why we must move ahead with the standards that unleash these innovations.

The White House indicated yesterday that President Obama would veto the TRAIN Act—an effort to block several other Clean Air Act standards—if the legislation arrives on his desk. The president must show the same resolve on power plants’ carbon pollution standards and set a firm schedule for action.