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June 10, 2014

Governors Applaud New EPA Carbon Pollution Safeguards


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (Photo: Office of Governor Patrick)


From New Hampshire to California to Hawai’i to Montana, Governors across the country are applauding the Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever standards to clean up climate disruption carbon pollution. While standards exist to curb mercury, soot and smog, never before has the United States taken a stand to limit the amount of carbon pollution that power plants pump into our clean air, despite the risks. Carbon emissions are linked to respiratory illnesses like childhood asthma, and climate disruption fuels extreme weather events such as super-storms, floods, wildfires, and extreme drought.

Power plants currently account for 40% of climate changing emissions in the United States. The EPA’s national goal is to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2030, and is part of Obama’s broader climate action strategy announced a year ago.

One of the real strengths of the proposal to curb carbon pollution is that it puts states in the driver’s seat for meeting emissions reduction goals. Each state is unique, and that’s why the EPA has created individualized plans for every state’s special needs. And that’s why it’s so critically important that so many governors are standing up to say they are ready and able to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan in their states right away:

  • California Governor Jerry Brown: “While others delay and deny, the Obama Administration is confronting climate change head-on with these new standards. Clean energy policies are already working in California, generating billions of dollars in energy savings and more than a million jobs. Bold, sustained action will be required at every level and this is a major step forward."

  • Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy: “It is long past time that we as a nation seriously and systemically confront the danger that carbon pollution poses to the health and well-being of our citizens. It is our solemn duty to leave the world a better place for us having lived in it. To not act would be to abandon our children and our children’s children to a planet that is unsustainably sick.”

  • Delaware Governor Jack Markell: “The impact of climate change is clear, from rising sea levels to more powerful and frequent extreme weather events that put Delaware families and businesses at risk. We have an obligation to address the root cause of these changes and that means limiting carbon pollution from our power plants.”

  • Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie: “Hawaii is at the forefront of responding to climate change through our Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which serves as a substantial economic driver while reducing our dependence on imported oil. By building such flexibility into the rules, President Obama is encouraging the rest of the country to follow Hawaii’s lead in pursuing clean energy.”

  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn: “I commend President Obama for confronting this critical issue. Illinois has seen the devastating impacts of severe weather first-hand with 11 natural disasters over the past five years. Moving toward a cleaner, more reliable and resilient energy system will bring significant benefits to our communities and our state.”

  • Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley: “Climate change is transforming the world in profound ways that continue to evolve. We still have time to become great ancestors, and we have a moral obligation to our children and our grandchildren to act now while we can make a difference.”

  • Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick: “I applaud EPA’s new carbon rules, which will unleash clean energy innovation and reduce energy costs while protecting our environment and public health. This is a critical step in moving the nation toward a clean energy future, one that we’ve already embraced in Massachusetts with great results. The Obama Administration is showing leadership in clean energy for American citizens today, and in the future.”

  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock: “By the time (the rules) are finalized — a year from now — we will have the flexibility to create a made-in-Montana solution.”

  • New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan: “I am encouraged that the new proposed regulations provide for state-specific solutions. Programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have brought numerous benefits to the Granite State, leading to new innovations while generating jobs and saving energy costs. We look forward to continuing to work with our regional partners to ensure that we reduce the harmful emissions that lead to climate change, while also helping to reduce energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in the state’s clean-energy economy.”

  • Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber:  “President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy are to be congratulated for accelerating a national response to the costs and risks of climate change. Oregon is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, from ocean acidification and dead zones offshore to rampant wildfires last summer that cost more than $120 million. This bold step will protect the health of citizens across the country while supporting the growing energy efficiency and renewable energy economy on the West Coast."

  • Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I): "Thank you to the President and the EPA for taking this step forward to reduce pollution from power plants, which nationally is a large source of carbon emissions. Through this leadership initiative, our Government has committed to reducing the risks associated with climate change, and has worked to ensure clean and reliable energy."

  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: “I applaud President Barack Obama and EPA Administrator Gina
    McCarthy for taking this critical step in setting the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Today’s announcement is a vital component of the President’s Climate Action Plan, and represents bold federal action needed immediately to address this challenge. Washington state and the Pacific Coast are moving forward on climate action, and our work will be much more effective with committed federal allies.”

  • Joint West Coast Leaders: The leaders of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia today applauded the Obama Administration’s newly released proposal for reducing carbon pollution as a welcome sign that the federal government is stepping up as a partner in the fight against climate change.


A flood of supportive statements from all corners of the country serve an encouraging sign that states are dedicated to making these safeguards work for a clean power future.

That’s progress worth bragging about.


--Liz Perera, Senior Washington Representative, Sierra Club



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