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Nevada Conservationists Applaud EPA's New Carbon Pollution Standards

PHOTO: New EPA standards to reduce carbon emission levels from existing coal-fired power plants are being applauded by conservationists in Nevada and around the nation. Photo courtesy Nevada Dept. Conservation and Natural Resources.
PHOTO: New EPA standards to reduce carbon emission levels from existing coal-fired power plants are being applauded by conservationists in Nevada and around the nation. Photo courtesy Nevada Dept. Conservation and Natural Resources.
June 3, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Conservationists in Nevada and around the nation are applauding new standards to significantly reduce carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Clean Power Plan, which calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030.

Jane Feldman, energy chair with the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter, says the new standards are important because electric utilities account for more than one-third of all carbon pollution in the U.S.

"In this one act, the EPA is addressing 40 percent of all the climate-disrupting gases that are being put into the air," says Feldman. "One-third of the carbon emissions are going to be absolutely taken care of - eradicated - by the year 2030."

Feldman says Nevada is in a good position to achieve the new carbon standards, after state lawmakers approved a law mandating the gradual retirement of the Reid Gardner coal plant, located about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

According to the EPA, 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.

Feldman adds the rule should have a significant impact on slowing climate change, which is caused in large part by an increasing amount of carbon in the air.

"One of the things that we've been seeing this past summer is hotter temperatures and more drought already, more fires already," says Feldman. "We need to start thinking about climate disruption, not as something that's happening in the future but something that's happening right now."

Feldman sees the timing of the new standards as good because the cost of producing cleaner energy forms, such as wind and solar, has become far more competitive in recent years.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV