PORTLAND - After a summer of devastating wildfires in Oregon and extreme weather across the country, Environment Oregon joined community leaders, students, and academics to call attention to an opportunity for Oregonians to affect the nation’s approach to global warming. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened a 60-day period for citizens to comment on its recently proposed regulations on carbon pollution from new power plants. If enacted, the new rule would mean no new coal-fired power plants would be built in the United States.
"I am pleased to help call attention to the [Obama] administration’s historic effort to rein in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer, “Limiting power plant emissions from sources both new and old represents a tremendous step--one that can be done without harming our economic recovery. Now is the time for action: the public can and should weigh in to ensure these rules are fair."
The proposed regulations are part of President Obama’s climate action plan, announced in June, which also calls for increased investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Carbon regulations on existing power plants are expected to be proposed later this year. While Oregon’s sole coal-fired power plant, Boardman Coal Plant, is slated to close in 2020, Oregon continues to get power from five of the country’s dirtiest power plants, all of which are out-of-state, according to a report released by Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center in September. The report also finds that the 50 most carbon-emitting power plants in America pollute more than the total national output of all but six countries in the world.
“Scientists say recent extreme weather is only going to get worse as global warming progresses,” said Charlie Fisher, field organizer for Environment Oregon. “Today, Oregonians have the opportunity to say ‘no’ to dirty power plants, the nation’s single largest source of carbon pollution.”
Environment Oregon was joined at the event by Dr. Kelley Barsanti, a Portland State University professor studying climate change; Ben Dawson, a Southern Oregon-based global warming activist; Maria Fish, a local college student and climate organizer; and citizens and activists. The event marked the kick-off of two days of grassroots action in Portland, Ashland, and Eugene, during which activists will collect hundreds of public comments in support of EPA action on global warming.
“The effects of global warming are evident around the world,” said Dr. Barsanti, “The degree to which we and future generations will have to adapt to climate change, and the cost of adaptation, will depend on our actions today. If we don’t move now to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, Oregonians, and all Americans, are going to witness hotter summers, reduced snow pack, more frequent wildfires and likely worsening air pollution episodes”
Citizens have until March 10 to submit comments to the EPA. To do so, they can email a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov referencing docket id EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0495 or on Environment Oregon’s action page: http://bit.ly/LGjmHl.