EPA Responds to Senators' Inquiry on Carbon Pollution Reduction Plan

WASHINGTON (February 22, 2010) -- The Environmental Protection Agency responded to questions from eight U.S. Senators on the EPA’s plans to use the Clean Air Act to reduce global warming pollution.

Following is a response by David Doniger, Policy Director for NRDC’s Climate Center:

“Using the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution requires nothing different than what we’ve repeatedly done over the course of four decades for other kinds of pollution:  follow the science, act when pollution endangers our health and welfare, and use available and affordable technology to clean up vehicles, power plants, and other big pollution sources. It’s practical, effective, affordable, and it works.”

Additional Background:
EPA’s answers to the Senators’ questions demonstrate carbon pollution can be reduced under the Clean Air Act in an effective and reasonable manner by phasing in available, affordable technology on the biggest sources, such as power plants and vehicles.

EPA answers show that:

  • Enacting the Murkowski resolution would put the Congress in the position of denying the science of climate change.  In Administrator Jackson’s words, a vote for resolution would “move the United States to a position behind that of China on the issue of climate change, and more in line with the position of Saudi Arabia.” 
  • The Murkowski resolution also would hurt the auto industry by preventing issuance of the consensus national standards for carbon emissions from new vehicles announced last year by President Obama and supported by the auto industry, labor, and environmentalists and the states. That’s because without EPA’s national standards, car makers would have to comply with standards set by California and 13 other states.
  • The EPA letter lays out a schedule for implementing carbon limits on only the largest new and expanded power plants and factories that are built starting in 2011. From that point forward, they will have to apply only available and affordable pollution control measures.
  • There will be no requirements for even the largest stationary sources this year. This schedule allows a reasonable transition time for companies planning to build or expand the largest sources. And there will be no requirements for smaller sources, which traditionally have not been required to get clean air construction permits.