Sierra Club: New Mexicans Applaud First-Ever Plan To Curb Carbon Pollution

SIERRA CLUB News:

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico faith leaders along with clean air and clean energy advocates today applaud President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for finalizing the first-ever national protections from dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants.

These new standards, which are part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, will advance the growth of clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency in New Mexico and across the country while reducing dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants. The new protections will also help reduce other life-threatening air pollution including mercury, soot, and smog.

“Pope Francis in On the Care for our Common Home states that ‘The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good…’ Reducing carbon pollution from power plants will provide safeguards for the common goods of air, water, land, community health and the future generations,” said Sr. Joan Brown,osf, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light. “Many faith communities have been engaged for several years gathering comments and testifying in favor of the plan that is a matter of climate justice. The Clean Power Plan is a historic step towards protecting all of God’s creation, including the most vulnerable among us most threatened by the impacts of climate disruption.”

“With the increased recognition that climate change is having a devastating impact on the Four Corners Region, it is imperative that immediate action be taken to eliminate emissions from aged coal plants and transition to sustainable means of producing electricity,” said Mike Eisenfeld, New Mexico Energy Coordinator for San Juan Citizens Alliance. “The Clean Power Plan presents an important opportunity for our state to reduce carbon pollution and protect public health.”

Carbon pollution causes climate disruption and is already costing American communities billions of dollars from flooding, super-storms, wildfires, and extreme heat. New Mexico has been hard-hit by the impacts of climate disruption like extreme heat waves, droughts and floods. Climate disruption has cost New Mexico nearly $500 million in federal disaster aid in 2011 and 2012 to cover the costs of extreme weather events, according a report conducted by the Center for American Progress.

In 2014, a national committee of experts in agriculture, climate science, commerce and disaster relief released the National Climate Assessment (NCA)  at the White House. The report predicts New Mexico can expect even more heat waves, more extreme and sustained droughts and poorer air and water quality in the decades ahead, which threatens the health and security of New Mexico families and businesses. By reducing carbon pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan will help curb our nation’s single largest source of climate disrupting emissions, protecting the health of families throughout New Mexico and positioning the United States as a global leader on climate change.

“Today marks the end of an era for dirty power plants that have spewed dangerous pollution into our air without limits for too long.  It signifies a new era of growth for affordable and safe clean energy sources that don’t fuel climate disruption and sicken our communities,” said Nellis Kennedy-Howard, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “Here in New Mexico, we have an enormous opportunity to seize our state’s rich clean energy potential and to transition to an economy powered by clean, renewable energy like wind and solar. Our state officials should seize this opportunity to protect public health, create clean energy jobs, and reduce carbon pollution in our state by supporting these historic safeguards.”

As the nation transitions towards clean, renewable energy like wind and solar, New Mexicans strongly support the federal government’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution and advance clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. More than 80 percent of New Mexicans believe that the government should limit dangerous greenhouse gas emissions created by polluting industries, according to a polling report released in 2013 by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change. 

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