Washington — Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, and EPW Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) today released the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed standards to reduce carbon pollution from new and existing coal and natural gas-fired power plants using the authority under Section 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act:

“We commend EPA for introducing achievable standards to reduce harmful pollution from our nation’s power plants. Building on our historic provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act to strengthen the Clean Air Act and lower energy costs for the American people, EPA’s proposal supports our transition to a clean energy economy. These standards will achieve significant and necessary emissions reductions from our nation’s largest unregulated source of carbon pollution—the power sector, while also providing flexibility and certainty. Today’s announcement is yet another important step forward by the Biden administration to advance our nation’s climate goals and protect public health.‎”

According to EPA, the proposal for coal and new natural gas power plants would avoid up to 617 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide (CO2) through 2042, which is equivalent to reducing the annual emissions of 137 million passenger vehicles—roughly half the cars in the United States. Through 2042, EPA estimates the net climate and health benefits of the standards on new gas and existing coal-fired power plants are up to $85 billion.

The proposals would also help cut tens of thousands of tons of particulate matter (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, harmful air pollutants that are known to endanger human health, especially in communities that for too long have disproportionally shouldered the burden of high pollution and environmental injustice. In 2030 alone, EPA’s proposed standards would prevent:

  • Approximately 1,300 premature deaths;
  • More than 800 hospital and emergency room visits;
  • More than 300,000 cases of asthma attacks;
  • 38,000 school absence days; and,
  • 66,000 lost workdays.