The Alliance for Affordable Energy says the new carbon rule is a win-win-win for Louisiana. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new federal carbon pollution standards for existing power plants that will likely boost Louisiana’s natural gas industry, improve public health, and safeguard our coast.
The new rules are one part of an across-the-board approach EPA is using to reduce climate change pollution and protect public health. EPA’s new carbon rules will only effect existing dirty and old power plants, namely old coal plants. The good news is Louisiana’s economy will likely benefit from these rules. Only 12% of our in-state electricity generation comes from coal; 75% of our generation comes from natural gas. Even if the cost of coal doubled, Louisiana ratepayers will not see much of an increase. In fact, our rates could go down if Regulators take the opportunity to increase energy efficiency investments to comply with the rules. EPA gave the States flexibility to choose the right mix of generation for their unique situation using diverse fuels, energy efficiency and demand-side management to meet the carbon goals and their own needs.
Public health will see an improvement. The carbon emission limits will also limit other forms of pollution that are very harmful, especially to children.
Here is what the rules will do once they are implemented:
*Reduce carbon emission from the power sector 30% below 2005 levels by 2030
*Avoid ~ 6,600 premature deaths
*Prevent 150,000 asthma attacks in children
*Save up to $93 billion in reduced public health and environmental costs
*Shrink electricity bills ~ 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand on the electric grid
Our state scientists and Legislature have already approved adaptation plans with the 2012 State Master Plan. Unfortunately, those plans are already out of date. According to state scientists, the 2012 restoration plans were modeled based on the “Moderate” sea level rise projections. The sea level rise projections will need to be moved closer to the “Less optimistic” level in the 2015 plan. This is not good news. StateHighway 1 is vital to Louisiana and the US economy because it’s the only road linking New Orleans to Port Fourchon, a strategic oil hub. The road is under a double threat of sinking land and rising seas resulting in more frequent and more severe flooding during high tide. The US estimates that a 90-day shut down of Highway 1 would cost the nation about $7.8 billion. The only way to keep sea levels manageable, our coast restore-able, and economy thriving is to limit the pollution causing the seas to rise.
EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 120 days after publication in the Federal Register and will hold four public hearings on the proposed Clean Power Plan during the week of July 28 in the following cities: Denver, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh. Based on this input, EPA will finalize standards next June following the schedule laid out in the June 2013 Presidential Memorandum.
In 2009, EPA determined [and the Supreme Court agreed] that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. Taking steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants will protect children’s health and will move our nation toward a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations, while supplying the reliable, affordable power needed for economic growth.