Washington, D.C. – On the public comment deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed power plant rules, Americans Against Fracking, a national coalition to ban fracking, delivered a letter from over 250 environmental, health, labor and consumer protection groups, along with over 200,000 comments criticizing the rules for incentivizing fracked natural gas. You can view the joint letter here.
The EPA’s proposed new rules for power plants mainly target coal fired power plants to reduce their carbon emissions, instead of taking a broader approach to control other sources of carbon emissions. One way the electricity companies would be allowed to do this is by switching from coal-fired plants to gas-fired plants. However, the rules, if implemented as proposed, would increase fracking and natural gas use. While carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from combusting gas instead of coal would decrease, methane (CH4) emissions from natural gas extraction, processing and transport would increase.
The groups argue in their comments to the EPA that the proposed power plant rules must be strengthened to address climate change and to avoid incentivizing more drilling and fracking in communities across the country.
“The Obama Administration’s EPA has continued to present natural gas as a solution to our looming climate crisis, ignoring the detrimental climate impacts of methane from the fracking process,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. “The Administration’s attempt to regulate power plant emissions, though commendable, only swaps one fossil fuel for another and falls short of a real solution that would move us forward to a truly renewable energy future. The proposed rules, as they are now, create a false sense of climate security and must be strengthened and target other sources of carbon emissions, not just carbon dioxide. ”
“The public supports President Obama taking action to address climate change, but wants to see much more stringent greenhouse gas reductions from power plants,” said Friends of the Earth’s Climate and Energy Campaigner, Kate DeAngelis. “Any rules to address climate change should not incentivize fracking and should have strong standards to meet the realities of the climate crisis.”
“We are extremely concerned about the health effects that fracking can have on entire communities,” said Deborah Burger, R.N., Co-President of National Nurses United. If the EPA’s power plant rules go into effect, that will mean more fracking, which in turn will lead to more respiratory problems from air pollution, skin rashes from chemical exposure and even cancer. The long-term health effects caused by fracking are a huge issue. We need strong executive action to address the crisis of climate change, but President Obama and the EPA shouldn’t promote fracking as it is a false solution to a bigger problem.”
“These rules just aren’t ambitious enough to help protect our planet from dangerous warming, and we don’t have time for baby steps,” said Bill Snape of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Obama administration’s decision to regulate power plant pollution is an essential, exciting move, but the rules have to be strengthened greatly. We need deeper cuts to planet-warming emissions, and we must move quickly toward a clean energy future rather than embracing dirty and dangerous fracking.”
“That this is the first action by an American President to reduce global warming pollution from power plants – our largest sector – deserves to be celebrated,” said Drew Hudson, Director of Environmental Action. “But if the EPA doesn’t un-frack the rules as written, nobody will remember President Obama as the president who liberated us from coal. They’ll remember him as the President who sold us to the frackers. I can’t believe this administration would be so short-sighted as to swap one extreme fossil fuel for another, when the clean energy economy is waiting on a shelf.”
“Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) welcomes action by the Environmental Protection Agency to address the climate crisis,” said PDA’s Co-Executive Directors Conor Boylan and Andrea Miller. “However, while we applaud efforts to phase out coal burning, replacing one form of carbon-based energy with others fails to make necessary progress. Therefore, we call for appropriate EPA standards and regulations to achieve zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible. These actions would protect the environment while encouraging jobs-creating investments in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy, including: solar, wind, water turbine, and geothermal technologies.”
Contact: Ryanne Waters, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-4925, [email protected]