EPA now accepting public comments about proposed coal regulations

Creative Commons photo by Flickr user arbyreed

Creative Commons photo by Flickr user arbyreed

Posted by Jennifer Fleck on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6:00 pm.

The Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting written comments concerning their proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants until March 10. The new standards would end construction of any new coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

“They are the first of their kind,” said Dalton Fusco, global warming coordinator for OSPIRG at the UO.

To begin the 60-day comment period, OSPIRG and Environment Oregon had two days of action to collect public comments in favor of the regulations on power plants. In addition to Eugene, grassroots action took place in Portland and Ashland. On Jan. 23  Environment Oregon held a news conference with Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, an aid to Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio and Fusco. “It went really well,” Fusco said.

The regulations stem from the climate action plan President Obama announced in June 2013. While the current proposed regulations will not affect existing power plants, new regulations directed toward them are expected later this year.

Oregon’s only coal power plant, Boardman Coal Plant is closing in 2020 and will be the youngest coal plant to close based on environmental decisions, The Oregonian reports.

“Climate change is the single greatest environmental challenge of our time,” said DeFazio at the news conference.”We must act now.”

DeFazio hasn’t pulled punches with his opinions recently. He gained national attention when in a Jan 8. speech he referred to “climate change deniers and some of the blithering idiots on talk shows,” who don’t want to use government resources to help prevent climate change. He also recently visited to the UO to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he said has some “really evil stuff.”

“I believe it is a problem that affects everyone,” said Fusco. “Personally I am glad the EPA is taking notice.”

Field organizer for Environment Oregon, Charlie Fisher, was cited in a press release as saying , “Today, Oregonians have the opportunity to say ‘no’ to dirty power plants, the nation’ single largest source of carbon pollution.”

According to a press release on the topic by OSPIRG, a report by Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center found that 50 American power plants that emit the most carbon pollute over the national total output of all but six other countries in the world.

To submit a comment to the EPA on this topic, citizens can email a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov with reference to docket id EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0495, or follow the instructions provided on Environment Oregon’s website. According to Fusco, OSPIRG will continue to raise awareness about global warming as well as the EPA’s comment period.