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Final day for comments on EPA Clean Power Plan

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earth-newToday marks the final day that the EPA will accept public comments on its proposed national standard to limit dangerous carbon pollution from power plants. Since the EPA began collecting them, more than 7 million Americans have already submitted public comments in support of the nation’s Clean Power Plan, including over 210,000 comments from Virginians—the equivalent of approximately 10% of voters in last month’s election.

This significant number of comments reflects a strong desire to develop solutions to climate change and to minimize its impacts on our health and economy. Recently reported by Yale University’s Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication, two out of three Americans support limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants—exactly what EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposes to do.

Sarah Bucci, Campaign Director with Environment Virginia said, “With rising seas threatening our coast, the need to solve the climate crisis is more urgent than ever. Virginians know the time for action is now.”

Dozens of organizations encouraged Virginia residents to submit their comments to the EPA over the last few months. All 210,825 of those comment were delivered to the EPA and to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality.

“When it comes to addressing climate change and its impact on our health, Virginians want leadership and action,” said Glen Besa, Director of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. He went on to say, “We urge the EPA to finalize the strongest possible standards and for Governor McAuliffe and Virginia’s leaders to implement a strong Clean Power Plan here in Virginia.”

Based on figures from Virginia’s new Energy Plan, the Commonwealth could benefit from 38,000 new jobs in the energy efficiency sector—one of EPA’s four major building blocks for the Clean Power Plan. A second major building block of the proposed plan is additional generation from wind and solar power. According to a recent filing by American Electric Power Company, the price of solar power is dropping and is expected to fall below the cost of conventional electricity generation in Virginia by 2019.

Chelsea Harnish, Policy and Campaigns Manager for Virginia Conservation Network says, “Virginia is already nearly 80% of the way to meeting EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. By capitalizing on energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities to meet the remaining 20% of the goal, Virginia can create jobs, reduce pollution and combat climate change. That is a win-win situation for Virginia.”

EPA is expected to finalize its Clean Power Plan in June 2015 and Virginia will have a year to submit its state plan to reduce carbon pollution, due in June 2016.

Dawone Robinson at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network added, “We and our climate allies look forward to working with Governor McAuliffe as he drafts a strong state plan to reduce carbon pollution.”

Organizations from across the state support efforts to reduce carbon pollution. That includes groups like Appalachian Voices who’s representatives comment, “every part of Virginia is at risk from the impacts of climate change, and every part of Virginia stands to benefit tremendously from action to reduce carbon pollution. Appalachian Voices urges the EPA to finalize a strong national plan and Gov. McAuliffe to stay strong in his goal to bring clean energy jobs and opportunities to Virginia.”

To submit your comment to EPA: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/how-comment-clean-power-plan-proposed-rule

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