EPA Moves Forward As Harvard Recognizes Billions of “Hidden” Clean Power Plan Benefits

Despite the setback delivered by the Supreme Court’s stay, action around the Clean Power Plan has not disappeared. Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency’s historic regulation is on the verge of another public input period and is also the focus of a recent Harvard study.

What’s more, EPA has a new proposal out and an upcoming public comment period related to the voluntary early-action piece of the Clean Power Plan, known as the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). After hearing from stakeholders during a previous public comment period that ended in mid-December 2015, EPA has made some significant changes to the proposed CEIP. Most importantly, EPA has expanded the range of projects eligible for CEIP participation to include solar projects implemented to serve low-income communities.

How EPA’s Haze Rule Can Help Keep Our Air Clear

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently taking comments on updates to the Regional Haze Rule. Click here and let EPA know that you want a stronger Regional Haze Rule to protect air quality in national parks and wilderness areas in the Southeast – including our nation’s most visited national park- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If our air isn’t clean, our communities can’t be healthy.

I grew up just outside Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the gateway community to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where my dad worked as the chief scientist. Growing up in the Smokies, clean air was essential to the health of the national park, visitors and local residents, and the economy. But on some summer days growing up, although you were in one of our nation’s crown jewel national parks, it was unhealthy to go on a hike, and you couldn’t see the next ridgeline, due to air pollution. Much of that pollution was coming from old, outdated coal-fired power plants nearby.

We weren’t alone – national parks and other special places around the country suffer from high rates of air pollution worse on some days than the pollution in our biggest cities. Why are our parks and communities suffering from this pollution?

Eyes on the Prize: EPA Moves Forward on Clean Energy Despite Paused Clean Power Plan

As April came to an end, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a strong signal that it wasn’t going to let the current political and legal battle keep it from moving some of the voluntary parts of the Clean Power Plan forward.

EPA sent a proposal related to the voluntary early-action incentive program, known as the Clean Energy Incentive Program, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review – the next step in the policy-making process. EPA recognizes that technological innovation in the clean energy sector is driving development of clean energy resources and if EPA wants to keep pace with the growing science, it must continuing moving forward. Utilities and regulators should take a cue from EPA and continue to work together to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the Southeast’s electricity sector – or risk being left behind.

FL, GA, and AL Failing to Properly Regulate Coal Ash

Environmental regulators in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama have so far failed to strengthen state policies to at least match EPA’s federal minimum standards for coal ash handling and storage.

Congress Must Prevent Utilities From Skirting Coal Ash Landfill Requirements

The southeast has more coal ash per capita than any other region of the country, so we hope Rep. Johnson’s southern colleagues will co-sponsor and publicly support H.R. 4827.

Big Errors in Measuring Carbon Emissions from Power Plants

What’s the single largest source of CO2 emissions in the Southeast? A 10 million ton data discrepancy! What? Huh? Why is a data discrepancy a blog? (UPDATE: Please see responses to reader suggestions at at the end, as well as in the comments.) President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will eventually regulate the emission of carbon [...]

EPA Administrator Talks Clean Air for Kids in Atlanta

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy, joined moms in Atlanta last night to talk about air pollution and ways we can work together to provide cleaner air for our kids. The theme of her remarks was clear: “Keep talking.” She urged us to “keep making the case that the march to clean power [...]

SCOTUS Nominee Merrick Garland and Environmental Regulation

Today, at a live event in the Rose Garden, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Reminding everyone that “people don’t stop working during their last term,” President Obama urged Senators to act in a bipartisan fashion and move forward with nomination hearings in order to fill the vacant seat left on the Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February.
Although there is sure to be a political battle around the nomination, we look to Judge Garland’s record on environmental issues to shed some light on how the Supreme Court may handle future environmental cases, like the current challenge to the Clean Power Plan pending in the lower court.

Another Option in the Toolbox for National Climate Action is Being Targeted by Industry

If climate change deniers see it as a threat to their efforts to stymie climate action, then you know it’s a powerful tool. Clean Air Act Section 115 is the latest EPA statute targeted by those working to keep America from becoming a true leader in the global effort to reduce carbon emissions and stave off some of the worst impacts of climate change.

In early February 2016, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa) introduced legislation that would repeal Section 115, but provides no basis, at least in the text of the bill, for why the Section is improper. In his accompanying statement, Rep. Perry makes the worn-out argument of EPA overreach as well as the seemingly baseless claim that any action under Section 115 would “threaten the reliability and viability of our nation’s energy sector.”

Section 115, previously enacted by Congress as part of the larger statute, gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to compel states to reduce air emissions that “contribute to health or welfare problems in other countries” as long as those countries are also enacting regulations to limit said air emissions.

Honoring Black History Month and the Path Towards Energy Justice: Dr. Yolanda Whyte fights for children

When it comes to keeping kids safe and healthy, SACE member Dr. Yolanda Whyte knows that it takes more than a visit to the pediatrician. She is devoted to raising the alarm about the source of many health problems, especially for children of color and those who live in low-income areas: environmental toxics in our air and water. She graciously agreed to be interviewed for SACE’s Black History Month series.