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National Black Chamber of Commerce speaks out on new EPA greenhouse gas rule

Martin Desmarais | 6/17/2014, 6 a.m.

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The EPA says the proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power. But the National Black Chamber of Commerce is concerned the regulations will increase operating costs for business owners.

Keywords: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, clean power, EPA, carbon pollution, climate change, affordable power, energy, National Black Chamber of Commerce, power plants, Harry C. Alford, Clean Power Plan, Gina McCarthy

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The EPA says the proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power. But the National Black Chamber of Commerce is concerned the regulations will increase operating costs for business owners.

“Black business owners have already faced rising energy costs over the past few years, a reality that has undermined their competitiveness in the marketplace. We hope that EPA’s new regulation does not set the stage for even greater energy costs and, instead, helps to foster business growth and job creation in communities across the United States,” said Harry C. Alford, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. “We will thoroughly examine EPA’s new rule to determine how it stands to impact black businesses and America’s broader economy.”

With the Clean Power Plan, EPA is proposing guidelines that build on trends already underway in states and the power sector to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, making them more efficient and less polluting.

Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.

“Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source--power plants,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. We don't have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment — our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs.”

According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan and other agency efforts over the next 15 years will: