In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the “Clean Power Plan” for states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. The plan has stirred up quite the debate, so we asked CUB Action Network members for their thoughts on the important issue.
The plan’s nationwide goal is to help cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent by 2030. The rule encourages states to meet individual targets (Illinois’ target is to cut emissions by about 33 percent) by improving coal plant efficiency, increasing the use of “backup” natural gas plants when electricity demand is highest, expanding renewable energy use, and emphasizing overall energy efficiency.
Proponents of the plan say that it will cut pollution and improve energy efficiency. Opponents, however, worry the plan will lead to coal-plant job losses and hurt the economy.
More than 1,200 of you responded to our recent survey on this hot topic. Here are the results:
Do you support the EPA plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants?
35% do not support
13% need more information
What best describes your feelings about coal-fired power plants?
53.4% say coal-fired plants will always be a necessary part of our energy portfolio
38.2% say coal-fired plants need to be eliminated from our energy portfolio
8.2% say they have no opinion
(Note: Two people did not answer this question.)
What do you think is the best way to reduce pollution in Illinois? (Respondents could choose all that apply.)
73% say practice more energy efficiency
63% say rely more on renewable energy
24% say close coal plants
14% said none of the above
While there are sharp disagreements over the new EPA plan, there’s strong support for efficiency. Paul from Berwyn, for example, supports the plan and argues that coal plants should be eliminated. “Renewable energy and more energy efficiency are the way of the future,” he said.
Irene from Crete couldn’t disagree more–about the EPA plan and coal plants. However, she too is a big supporter of efficiency. “To quote my father,” Irene said. “‘When not in use, turn off the juice.'”
The EPA is seeking public feedback on its plan through October 16. To tell them what you think, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/how-comment-clean-power-plan-proposed-rule. A final ruling will be issued in June 2015.
For the latest updates on this and other news, be sure to regularly visit CUB’s webpage at www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.