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Chicago EPA Session Asks for Public Input on Carbon Pollution

PHOTO: The EPA is hosting a listening session in Chicago to gather input on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Photo courtesy: EPA.
PHOTO: The EPA is hosting a listening session in Chicago to gather input on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Photo courtesy: EPA.
November 8, 2013

CHICAGO – It's the next step in fulfilling President Barack Obama's plan to fight climate change – the EPA is hosting a listening session in Chicago today to gather community input on carbon pollution from existing power plants.

The new rule will be issued in June 2014 and will come on the heels of the recently updated proposal for the regulation of carbon pollution at new power plants.

Kady McFadden, organizing representative with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, says this time, the EPA is asking for the public's ideas before going to the drawing board.

"The EPA is involving communities in a different way before they even write the rule,” McFadden explains. “So we're excited about this, because it means that we can have a little more input into what this rule looks like."

Currently, there are no Clean Air Act limits on the amount of carbon pollution released into the air by power plants and McFadden says today's feedback will play an important role in helping leaders develop smart, cost-effective guidelines.

Today's session wraps up a total of 11 held around the country.

The EPA is also accepting input online at carbonpollutioninput@epa.gov.

McFadden says the new rule needs to be strong so it's hitting the president's goal of reducing economy-wide carbon pollution by 17 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.

She says it also needs to be a just rule that protects the health of people in all communities, including low-income areas.

"We want to make sure the standard doesn't leave room for polluters to avoid the responsibility to protect all communities from pollution, including cleanup and remediation as necessary," she says.

McFadden adds there's been an overwhelming response on the issue from a wide array of people, including those in the public health field, as well as environmental justice, faith, youth and parenting organizations. She expects almost 500 people at the session today.

"We have folks coming from Wisconsin, Michigan, across Indiana as well as downstate Illinois,” she says. “We have van fulls of people coming up to really show EPA that folks across the Midwest really support a just and strong carbon rule."

Strong opposition to the rule is expected from those in the fossil fuel industry who claim the rules will kill jobs and hurt the economy.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL