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Clean Power Plan Hearings Open Today

PHOTO: Hearings open today in Washington, D.C. on the EPA's Clean Power Plan. It's been hotly debated because of economic and health concerns. Photo credit: Environmental Protection Agency.
PHOTO: Hearings open today in Washington, D.C. on the EPA's Clean Power Plan. It's been hotly debated because of economic and health concerns. Photo credit: Environmental Protection Agency.
July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opens the doors for public hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, D.C. on proposed rules to cut carbon pollution from power plants.

The hearings are expected to be some of the most heavily-attended public policy hearings in years, as EPA officials assess concerns and hear ideas to improve the Clean Power Plan.

The plan would cut carbon pollution from power plants by nearly one-third compared with 2005 levels.

While critics cite the plan's potential economic impact, supporters like former EPA administrator Carol Browner say a healthy environment strengthens the economy. She cites one study that found clean air rules saved the U.S. about $1.3 trillion in 2010.

"We don't have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. The two go together," Browner says. "The EPA proposal is a clear example of how you can find common sense, cost-effective ways to clean our air and protect the health of our communities."

Browner adds there would be additional health benefits beyond carbon reduction, including less ground-level ozone.

"We know families experience it every day," says Browner. "Breathing polluted air can affect our lungs, asthma attacks in our children, and it can affect the health of our older Americans."

The EPA will also hold public hearings this week in Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh. Public comments can be submitted via the EPA website through October 16th.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD