President Obama Promotes Upcoming Power Plant Rule from Environmental Protection Agency

Speaking in his weekly radio address Saturday, President Obama argued that an upcoming rule to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants will improve public health and protect the planet for future generations.

Obama did not divulge the details of the proposed regulation, which the Environmental Protection Agency will release Monday. But he touted one specific benefit, saying, “in just the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be avoided — and those numbers will go up from there.”

The proposal is still being finalized, but several individuals familiar with the rule said it will cut carbon emissions from the electricity sector over the next two decades while giving state regulators and utility companies the flexibility to meet federal targets through measures including greater energy efficiency and investments in solar and wind power.

Many of the public-health benefits associated with the regulation stem from the fact that the phasing out of older coal-fired plants will cut soot, or fine particulate matter, which is linked to both heart and lung disease.

The address, which the president recorded Friday at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, is the first phase in a multi-step rollout aimed at marshaling public support for the climate proposal. After EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announces it Monday, the president will participate in a call with advocacy groups organized by the American Lung Association.

“Today, about 40 percent of America’s carbon pollution comes from power plants. But right now, there are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe. None,” Obama said. “We limit the amount of toxic chemicalslike mercury, sulfur, and arsenic that power plants put in our air and water. But they can dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air. It’s not smart, it’s not safe and it doesn’t make sense.”

Environmentalists and renewable energy firms are eagerly anticipating the initiative, which represents the most ambitious measure the president will have undertaken as part of his ongoing effort to address global warming. The administration has already imposed stricter carbon limits on cars and trucks and proposed curbing greenhouse gas emissions from all new power plants.

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The Washington Post

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