“So that the United States
can leverage our action internationally [to] address a global challenge
in a global way,” McCarthy said.
The proposal has been crafted
on the basis of extensive consultations with industry and the review of
more than 2.5 million public comments submitted to the agency by
environmental and health groups and other interested parties. The
proposed emissions standards will be subject to further public comment
and review before becoming law.
The pollution reduction
standards will ensure that power plants of the future will be built with
clean technologies that limit carbon emissions, the EPA announcement
says, in keeping with the Obama administration priority that innovation
offers an important gateway to achieving clean air goals.
McCarthy went on the
offensive to protect the proposal from the chief criticism that has been
levelled at environmental policies since they became a major national
issue in the 1970s. The new regulations won’t inhibit economic growth,
“We have proven time after
time that setting fair Clean Air Act standards to protect public health
does not cause the sky to fall,” McCarthy said. “The economy does not
She noted that the renewable
energy industry is steadily increasing its energy output and that the
U.S. automotive industry is thriving in its adaptation to meet tougher
auto emissions standards put in place in 2009.
tougher power-plant emissions standards are an important regulatory
move, McCarthy said, but movement toward lower emissions, less air
pollution and a clean fuel economy won’t happen overnight. She saluted
the many actions that state and local governments are taking to increase
energy efficiency and reduce pollution. She also called on the
international community to take action to address “a public health
challenge that we all simply cannot afford to avoid any longer.”