The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), a nonprofit group of hundreds of state legislators across the country, sent a letter to President Barack Obama this week urging him to finalize carbon pollution standards for new power plants and move forward with policies limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.
The state legislators and environmental activists have oft-praised Obama’s progress on climate change- and global warning-taming measures, but they’re pressing the president to stay the course and see through various emissions standards that help protect the planet.
During his 2013 Inaugural speech, President Barack Obama made clear his intent to continue implementing regulations to reduce dangerous carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions into the air.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms,” Obama said.
In their correspondence, the state lawmakers write that no U.S. community is immune from the effects of global warming, noting that in addition to last year’s Superstorm Sandy, which left an estimated $50 billion dollars of damage, there were 10 other extreme weather-related disasters in 2012 that surpassed the $1 billion threshold in damages.
“As state legislators we agree. Climate change threatens the health of our families, our communities and the planet. Our response will be a lasting legacy that will measure our service in public office. We must act promptly,” states the letter.
“We urge you to continue moving forward … power plants are our nation’s largest source of carbon pollution and you have legal authority to clean them up under the Clean Air Act.”
The Clean Air Act is a the comprehensive federal law regulating air emissions from stationary and mobile sources, according to EPA.gov. The 1970 law, which has been amended and updated over the years, authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards to protect public health and public welfare.
Virginia Sen. Barbara Favola (D-McLean), who represents Fairfax and Loudoun counties, is one of five Virginia state senators among NCEL’s membership.
Favola echoed the praise for Obama’s auto emission standards and regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants in an email to the Times-Mirror.
On a state level in Virginia, Favola said she’s pleased with the efforts in Virginia on land conservation, but improvements must still be made in Virginia’s water quality. The Northern Virginia state senator hopes the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan, aimed at reducing and controlling various substances running off into the state’s waterways, will help that.
Environment Virginia, a citizen-funded group that advocates for clean air, clean water and open space has repeatedly commended Obama for his policies in dealing with global warming. Sarah Bucci, a federal field organizer for Environment Virginia, said “this is what leadership in tackling global warming looks like.”
“Over the next four years, we are counting on President Obama to set tough limits on carbon pollution from power plants, continue investing in the development of clean, renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power, and to implement dramatic energy efficiency improvements that will cut dangerous pollution and protect our environment and our families,” Bucci said in a prepared statement following Obama’s recent inauguration address.