Governors Stepping Up to Protect Wildlife from Carbon Pollution

from Wildlife Promise

Long a leader on environmental issues, the Northeast is stepping up once again. On December 2nd, Governors from nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, saying:

“We applaud the commitment of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tackle head-on the challenge of reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, which comprise the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.”

What’s it all about? Recently the EPA has been thinking hard about how to cut climate-change producing air pollution like carbon, and one major step they are moving towards is to cut carbon from existing power plants. Why is this a big deal? Well, for starters, existing power plants produce more than 40% of our carbon in the US.

In the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic, we are way ahead of the curve. For years the states that signed onto the letter have had a program called the Regional Green Gas Initiative, or RGGI.1

Due their large size and insulating fur, moose require cool climates to thrive. Photo by Philippe Henry.

So why would all these states be in favor of standards to cut carbon from power plants that are already pumping out pollution? Because it is good for all of us (human health! wildlife! our economy!), and it is especially good for our states that already have programs like RGGI in place, as it levels the playing field with states who are pumping out air pollution which comes over our borders.

So what have we learned from the letter? All the states support cutting climate change pollution, and that is across the political spectrum from Governor LePage of Maine’s tea party to Governor Patrick of Massachusetts and Governor Cuomo of New York, both seen as national figures in the Democratic party. Only Governor Christie of New Jersey refused to sign the letter.

The governors support the EPA carbon standards for power plants that look like RGGI because, in their words:

  • “It is a proven model.
  • It is extremely cost-effective.
  • It provides economic benefits.
  • It aligns with the regional nature of the electricity grid and fosters regional cooperation.
  • It provides a simple, transparent, verifiable compliance system.”

It is also good for wildlife, including  moose and puffins, which are having a hard time in New England because of climate change.

Take Action ButtonHelp save wildlife from carbon pollution and climate change by sending a message to the Environmental Protection Agency.