Seventeen people testified at a Citizens Hearing on the EPA’s GHG emission rule on June 13 in Pittsburgh City Council chambers. Opening the hearing was Katie Feeney of the Clean Air Council of Philadelphia followed by former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper of Erie, a number of private citizens, and representatives of local environmental and health organizations. Arranged by Councilwoman Rudiak, the hearing was chaired by Council President Harris. All witnesses supported the EPA’s first rule to control carbon emissions from fossil-fueled power plants. Comments may be submitted prior to June 25, should be addressed to [ a?and?r?Docket@epa.gov ], and identified by Docket ID No. EPAHQ?OAR?2011?0660. The EPA’s GHG fact sheet is available for background information.
NOTE. There is some confusion as to whether this new standard will apply to power plants fueled by natural gas. The standard that must be met by a new plant is no more than 1,000 lbs of CO2/MWh of electricity generated. If only the burning of natural gas is considered, it will safely fall below this limit. However, environmentalists point out that if the total emission of GHG is considered throughout the life cycle of fracked Marcellus Shale gas, the standard of 1,000 lbs of CO2/MWh may be exceeded. That is an issue to be addressed in the future.
Extracts from some key comments at the hearing:
“This EPA clean air standard establishes the first national limits on industrial carbon pollution from new power plants, and takes an essential first step toward protecting public health from the harmful effects of climate change, including increases in deadly smog,” said Katie Feeney, “In the long run, ignoring the dangers of this pollution puts us all, especially children, at risk from asthma attacks and other health impacts associated with air pollution.”
Randy Francisco of the Sierra Club testified about other benefits of the proposed rule, saying, “These rules will help us move away from coal and focus on clean renewable energy, at a time of deep economic uncertainty for western Pennsylvania families. We should not be relying on dirty 18th century energy sources when we could be putting Americans back to work producing clean renewable energy.”
“The EPA wouldn’t come to Pittsburgh – only scheduling hearings in Washington DC and Chicago – so we’re coming to them,” said Tiffany Hickman of PennFuture. “We are honored that Pittsburgh City Council member Natalia Rudiak has agreed to co-sponsor these hearings, and we will be delivering all testimony directly to the EPA, so the people of southwestern Pennsylvania will heard loud and clear.”