Senator Markey Statement to EPAs Boston Public Listening Session on the Clean Air Act and Carbon Pollution Rules

Contact: Eben BurnhamSnyder (Markey) 2022242742

Giselle Barry (Markey) 2022242742

BOSTON (November 4, 2013) - Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass.), the chair of the Climate Change Clearinghouse and cochair of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, submitted the following statement for the record at today's Environmental Protection Agency public listening session in Boston about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.

"I am glad to make this statement supporting an important policy that will cut the pollution that is changing our planet, and drive innovation that will create jobs.

"Of course, we all know we could have been here earlier. The original meeting to discuss this policy was postponed because of the Tea Party Republican shutdown of the government.

"But this meeting is just like policies to combat climate change: too important to be stopped. 

"Just before the Tea Party shut down the government, the world's climate scientists warned that we are fast approaching a climatic meltdown. 

"The most comprehensive climate report to date by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that carbon pollution is increasing temperatures, raising sealevels, making storms more extreme and the ocean more acidic. For the second time, they said the science was unequivocal. And for the second time, they charged, tried, and convicted the main culprit: carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels.

"For decades, we've known that setting limits on smog, on mercury, on other dangerous emissions saves lives and preserves our planet.

"The Obama administration has proposed to put limits on carbon pollution needed to stop climate changes that are endangering our people and our planet.

"Massachusetts is already feeling the impact of climate change. As sea levels rise and storms become more severe, many of Boston's bestknown landmarks will be threatened, including Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Station, and beaches and homes up and down our coast.

Last year the waters off of Massachusetts were the warmest ever recorded in a record that stretches back to 1850. Scientists are observing worrying changes to phytoplankton the foundation of the ocean food chain that many attribute to the changing temperatures and seawater acidification from increasing levels of carbon pollution in the atmosphere. Just this morning, I was at the Statehouse hearing from fishermen and others concerned about the health of our fisheries and ocean and discussing the impact climate change is already having on them.  

Precipitation in New England is becoming increasingly erratic - extreme rain and snowfall events are on the rise, making damaging floods more likely. Extreme downpours and snowfalls have increased by 85 percent since 1948.

 

"Failure to address climate change could cost Massachusetts $9 billion in GDP and nearly 38,000 jobs between 2010 and 2050. All together New England could see a $22 billion hit to GDP and almost 100,000 jobs lost.

 

"EPA is proposing that new power plants that generate electricity by burning natural gas or coal have to meet standards that limit the amount of carbon pollution they generate. 

"To set these standards, EPA looked at the state of energy technology today, and what can be developed in the near future. 

"These rules are reasonable. They are flexible. And they are feasible. 

"For power producers and coal mining companies that reject these standards, they have no reason to complain. When Congress offered a solution to pass a climate and energy bill that would provide billions of dollars to help power companies develop advanced carbon capture technologies, they rejected the legislation. I should know, since it was my bill with Rep. Henry Waxman that they turned down.

"Now natural gas and renewables are expanding their shares of the electricity market. Rather than work with the government to develop carbon capture technologies, coal is now struggling to compete with these cleaner sources of electricity.

"U.S. heattrapping emissions are already falling. These standards will ensure that trend continues. 

"Like past environmental and safety standards, they will also push industry to innovate. And innovation is America's economic lifeblood. The entrepreneurial spirit is guiding the clean energy revolution underway in our country. 

"Jobs powered by the sun, the wind, and the heat and gas of the earth are growing. In Massachusetts alone, we have nearly 80,000 clean tech workers, with another 10,000 expected to be hired in the next year.

"The science of climate change is unequivocal. These new rules on power plants, when combined with our emission standards for cars and trucks, means that we are no longer equivocating as a country on climate, we are acting. 

"We are acting to end the limitless dumping of heattrapping pollution into our atmosphere. We are acting to provide future generations with a cleaner, safer environment by generating better technologies today. We are acting unequivocally to live up to our moral duty to address climate change.

"I support these rules, and encourage every American concerned about the climate, and looking for a new energy revolution, to support them as well."