Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen, and Commissioner Robert Klee of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, offered the following comments today concerning the release of a draft rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulating carbon pollution from existing electric power plants.
The EPA is required to issue this rule under the Clean Air Act and as a result of the 2006 decision by the United States Supreme Court in Massachusetts et al v. Environmental Protection Agency in which twelve states, including Connecticut, and several cities brought suit against the EPA to force that federal agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants.
“It is long past time that we as a nation seriously and systemically confront the danger that carbon pollution poses to the health and well-being of our citizens. It is our solemn duty to leave the world a better place for us having lived in it. To not act would be to abandon our children and our children’s children to a planet that is unsustainably sick. I commend President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for the Clean Power Plan they proposed today, which signals to the world that we will lead by example and reduce carbon pollution, clean up our air, and begin curing the planet.”
“We face an unacceptable danger from the effects of carbon pollution emitted by power plants across the nation. We’re experiencing killer heat waves, devastating droughts, and more destructive coastal and river flooding. Our infrastructure is vulnerable to catastrophic failure from powerful storms like Hurricane Sandy. Our farms, fisheries, and ecosystems are stressed and threaten future food supplies. But the good news is that it is not too late to solve this severe and growing problem and we know how to do it.”
“In Connecticut, we have demonstrated that we can clean up the air we breathe and build an advanced energy economy that translates into good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Connecticut and other states in the Northeast are leading the nation in addressing the dire problem posed by carbon pollution and we welcome this action by the U.S. government to clean up our environment on a national basis.”
“Connecticut’s progress is the result of several initiatives. Our participation with neighboring states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) serves as a flexible, market-based solution other states can replicate or adopt under the proposed EPA rule to dramatically cut carbon pollution from power plants in a manner that recognizes the costs of such pollution, but protects ratepayers and builds a new economy by generating funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.”
“Our state has also taken strong steps to reduce the demand for power from conventional fuels – another path the proposed EPA rule suggests – by focusing on energy savings and deployment of renewable energy projects. We have doubled funding for popular and cost effective energy savings programs, increased by 10-fold the in-state generation of power from renewable sources, expanded the state’s infrastructure to support electric vehicles, and joined with other states to encourage consumers to switch to zero-emission vehicles. The plan EPA proposed today affirms the progress Connecticut has already made to clean our air and reduce carbon pollution.”
Attorney General Jepsen
“Connecticut is fortunate to have thriving industries that depend upon the rich ecology, natural beauty, and continued health of Long Island Sound, and upon our other precious natural resources. Reasonable efforts can and should be made to minimize the impacts to our economy and ecology from climate change.
"I applaud President Obama and the EPA for honoring their pledge to reduce carbon emissions over the next several years. It is appropriate and critical that the EPA exercise its legal authority and satisfy its obligation to regulate. Such regulation would complement the contributions of the existing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in promoting improved air quality and reducing health risks to our citizens."
“The time to debate the reality of climate change has passed – and the moment for strong action to slow its course has arrived. Climate change is happening now and it is affecting people and livelihoods not just in faraway places but right in our backyards.”
“In Connecticut we are already seeing rising water levels and temperatures in Long Island Sound, more severe weather patterns, more frequent flooding, and changes in species and vegetation consistent with warming temperatures. The only way to reverse this tide is through a nation-wide commitment to reduce the volume of carbon emissions we are pumping into our atmosphere.”
“In Connecticut, we have already made strong progress in reducing carbon emissions from the power sector. We will look forward to reviewing the EPA proposal in detail to ensure that it recognizes our accomplishments and those of other states that have taken leadership roles on this critical issue – and provides a path for other states to take similar actions.”