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NH Advocate: Sustainable Biz “Created Space” for EPA to Act on Carbon

September 23, 2013

CONCORD, N.H. - Sustainable businesses in New Hampshire helped pave the way for the new Obama administration regulations that would place the first cap ever on carbon emissions from new power plants. That's the belief of Wood Turner, vice president for sustainable innovation at Stonyfield Farms. He said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was given the space to take strong action because more businesses are seeing the economic benefits of being leaders in renewable energy.

"I do think this has been a long time coming; I do think there are many companies that are deeply invested in solutions," he said. "This is a great example of a pathway being established by business to enable government to get more serious about it - to establish controls that are as strong as this."

Turner said this is part of a common-sense solution to climate change, which could set the stage for eventual limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. The coal industry and some utility companies had threatened to sue, charging that the draft regulations amount to an outright ban on the construction of new coal plants.

Former EPA Administrator Carol Browner said power plants account for about 40 percent of the carbon pollution in the U.S. Until the EPA came up with these draft regulations on Friday, U.S. companies could release unlimited amounts of carbon, she said.

"There are requirements to reduce other dangerous pollutants - arsenic, lead, mercury - all quite dangerous. This will be the first standards, the first requirements for power plants to reduce their carbon pollution," she explained.

Historically, Granite Staters had to shoulder both the health costs and economic burden of power from an outdated coal-fired plant, Turner said, adding that the new regulations just help level the playing field.

"This creates a scenario where there's no opportunity for another plant like that to come online," Turner said. "That's just one example of how controls on carbon emissions are going to create - in New Hampshire - opportunity for new forms of energy."

A separate standard for the existing fleet of power plants is due next summer.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH