Hearing on new Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan rules Tuesday in Atlanta

Monday, July 28, 2014 6:04 PM
Last updated 8:55 PM
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Advocates and opponents of stricter new power plant emission regulations will gather in Atlanta on Tuesday to voice their concerns.

About 15 people from Augusta will attend the hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, said April Wilson, a member of the local chapter of the Sierra Club.

“We want the government to do something to prevent climate change,” she said. “And the U.S. should start setting an example for other countries.”

The EPA regulations would generally require power plants to reduce carbon pollution by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Georgia emitted 57 million metric tons in 2012 and it would have to reach a certain emission-to-electricity goal under the proposed regulations.

Atlanta-based Southern Company, which plans to speak at the hearings, said in a statement that the plan “will hurt the reliability and affordability of our nation’s energy supply. The proposal limits fuel diversity and dictates compliance solutions to the states, which will increase costs to customers and negatively impact America’s energy security.”

But environmentalists said the proposed regulations will provide savings in health care and other costs by reducing pollution-derived illness. The new standards would help to prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children, said Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The EPA plan “will significantly reduce our biggest source of climate pollution, unlimited carbon coming from our existing power plants,” she said. “It’s the biggest step we’ve ever taken against climate change, which today is already harming our health and environment.”

Climate change is having diverse effects already, including an “exploding” tick and mosquito population in some states, said Collin O’Mara, the president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

“Without actions like those that EPA is proposing, we are putting our entire outdoor legacy at risk in this country,” he said.

The move could also put a greater emphasis on developing more clean alternative sources, such as solar and wind energy, which are already dropping rapidly in cost, said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. The cost of solar has dropped more than 60 percent in the last three years and the cost of wind has dropped 40 percent, he said.

“Clean energy sources like wind and solar are becoming much cheaper much faster than anyone had guessed was possible,” Brune said. “By 2030, clean energy will be playing a much bigger role in our economy than even the EPA is expecting.”

Wilson hopes that means “more green power and more green power jobs (in Georgia),” she said. “The state is going to choose how to enact the law. At that point in time, hopefully we can find ways that make everybody happy, including industry.”

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hoptoad 07/28/14 - 07:38 pm
“Clean energy sources like wind and solar are becoming much chea

“Clean energy sources like wind and solar are becoming much cheaper much faster than anyone had guessed was possible,” Brune said. “By 2030, clean energy will be playing a much bigger role in our economy than even the EPA is expecting.”

Can they tell us how they know wind is going to be cheaper or even effective in many parts of the country. Many of the uppity neighborhoods do not even want these machines within sight of their homes, and they kill birds. So are the uppity neighborhoods going to still be allowed to have coal powered electricity.

Solar power is, for the most part, effective if you live somewhere the sun shines long enough for collection. It's going to limit where in the U.S. you will be able to live - lots of trees, hills, the mountains might effect collection just as cell phone service is spotty in certain areas. Way up north, it's going to be tough to do a run of wash in the winter.

They're just not going to convince me that a certain segment of society isn't going to be forced to use either source and will still have a meter for backup.

hoptoad 07/28/14 - 07:48 pm
Mosquito and tick explosions

Mosquito and tick explosions usually occur when there's a mild winter and lots of rain. Nothing unusual there, but leave it to the EPA to make something of it.

How ironic - the liberals want to legalize pot that causes cancer just like cigarettes and brain fades but then want to discuss eliminating emissions from manufacturing plants. Both are bad for our health, but the libs like to decide which unhealthy practice works best for them.

No doubt about where the Sierra Club stands. Do we have any sane and knowledgeable representatives attending this conference to counter the left wing propaganda.

afadel 07/29/14 - 11:13 am
We Should All Support Tighter Emission Standards

I support the Augustans who are making the trip to support the tighter emission standards. Thank you for making the effort to know that our health and environment are more important than Southern Company.

jomojo 07/29/14 - 03:16 pm
Wind and Solar Are Good

The cost of wind and solar applications has already come down and historically that is always the trend as new technologies are adopted more widely. That's how they know the price is coming down.

And you're right, hoptoad, that wind and solar will not work everywhere. Here is a map from DOE showing the potential for wind power in the US:

Here's one for solar energy potential:

Wind generation usually requires open spaces to work, so it's unlikely they would be located near urban neighborhoods, uppity or otherwise. On a recent visit to Illinois I saw the rural landscape dotted with many wind generators. The farmers were happy to have the income from long-term leases with the power companies.

One is not limited to living only where the potential for wind and solar energy is high. Rather the contribution that these sources make to the national energy grid - or the reduction in electricity demand - benefits everybody. I doubt if we'll see the complete elimination of metered electric power in the near future, but there are already near-zero energy homes being built.

Dixieman 07/29/14 - 05:10 pm

there will be some sensible people protesting against the EPA unscientific power grab in Atlanta. Solar and wind? If they are really economical, the marketplace will bring them along...we do NOT need crony capitalism from the government trying to pick winners in this (or any other) area.

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