August 3, 2015

Sen. Whitehouse Praises Clean Power Plan

RI Senator Joined with State's Major Electric Utility and State Energy Commissioner to Tout its Benefits for Public Health, Environment, and Economy

Providence, RI – Today, as President Obama prepares to unveil his much-anticipated Clean Power Plan, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) held a press conference with National Grid Rhode Island President Tim Horan and RI Office of Energy Resources Commissioner Marion Gold to discuss how the plan will benefit people and businesses in Rhode Island and across the country.  The plan will, for the first time, require states to reduce carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants – the single largest source of the harmful emissions that are contributing to climate change.  The plan is also projected to save American’s money on their energy bills and reduce harmful air pollution.

“The Clean Power Plan marks our nation’s most ambitious effort yet to address climate change,” said Whitehouse.  “The President and EPA Administrator McCarthy deserve credit for listening to stakeholder concerns and crafting a rule that will significantly reduce carbon pollution while jumpstarting the American clean energy economy. I’m proud to support this plan, and of President Obama’s leadership on this global problem.”

The group discussed how the Clean Power Plan is needed to protect public health, promote energy efficiency, and encourage greater use of clean energy alternatives like wind and solar.

“This landmark, comprehensive regulation will enable real progress in significantly reducing greenhouse gases,” said National Grid US president Dean Seavers. “National Grid will be actively collaborating with the states and other stakeholders as they develop their implementation plans to ensure the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector and advance America’s efficient and clean energy future.”

“I applaud the EPA for releasing the Clean Power Plan,” State Energy Commissioner Gold said. “The plan presents an opportunity to work regionally to further reduce harmful air pollution and help Rhode Islanders save money on their utility bills. Rhode Island is well on its way to compliance and remains committed to investing in energy efficiency, supporting renewable energy sources such as off-shore wind and participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.”

The plan requires states to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Rhode Island would receive credit towards meeting its requirements for its existing membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — a regional cap-and-trade system that has reduced greenhouse gas emissions across RGGI states by 40% in the power sector, while also generating $1.3 billion in net economic benefits from 2012-2014.

“Rhode Island is at the front lines of climate change, with sea levels already up nearly 10 inches in Newport since the 1930s and winter water temperatures up 3-4 degrees in Narragansett Bay since the 1950s. And we’ve just had another unsafe ozone day thanks to coal plants in upwind Midwestern states.  So there are very real benefits of action and very real costs of inaction for states like Rhode Island,” Whitehouse concluded.


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