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Arizona Conservationists Applaud EPA's New Carbon Pollution Standards

PHOTO: The EPA's new standards reducing carbon emission levels from existing coal-fired power plants are being applauded by conservationists in Arizona and around the nation. Photo courtesy EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance.
PHOTO: The EPA's new standards reducing carbon emission levels from existing coal-fired power plants are being applauded by conservationists in Arizona and around the nation. Photo courtesy EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance.
June 3, 2014

PHOENIX - Conservationists in Arizona and around the nation are applauding new standards that significantly reduce carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its "Clean Power Plan" proposal, which calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030. Sandy Bahr with the Sierra Club in Arizona says the new standards are important because electric utilities account for more than a third of the nation's carbon pollution.

"It's a huge step forward for addressing climate change," says Bahr. "Something that we have as a top priority and should be a top priority for everyone, especially here in the Southwest."

Bahr says the Four Corners Power Plant, where Phoenix gets much of its power, along with the Navajo Generating Station and several other plants around the state will have to determine how to comply with the new carbon standards.

The EPA says less carbon in the air also will benefit public health by avoiding more than 6,000 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and nearly half a million missed work or school days. Bahr says less carbon in the air should also have a significant impact on slowing climate change, which is caused in large part by carbon in the air.

"Here in Arizona, we are experiencing ongoing drought," says Bahr. "We've seen one big fire already this year. We're likely to see more of those in the future."

Bahr cites the National Climate Assessment report, released earlier this spring, which concluded that climate change is causing longer droughts and more significant wildfires.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ