In Letter to EPA, 23 Pennsylvania and National Climate Groups Call on Biden Administration to Cut Pollution in Power Sector

In advance of imminent EPA proposed rules, organizations call for new carbon pollution standards for new, existing power plants

HARRISBURG, PA — Today, a coalition of 23 clean energy, environmental justice, and climate action organizations working in Pennsylvania sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to accelerate efforts to cut pollution in the nation’s electricity sector and establish robust carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants. 

The letter calls for the EPA to take three key steps:

    • Set ambitious carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants under sections 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.
    • Set other EPA pollution standards that reduce conventional air and water pollutants and improve public health.
    • Implement the Inflation Reduction Act effectively, efficiently, and equitably.

The electricity sector represents America’s second-largest source of carbon pollution and the Pennsylvania power sector is currently the third-highest polluting in the country, emitting nearly 80 million metric tons of CO2 in 2021 alone. Moreover, in 2020, Pennsylvania recorded the highest amount of premature deaths per capita caused by air pollution in the entire country. 

Cutting climate pollution from the power sector would be a linchpin for cleaning up pollution across all economic sectors. Success in decarbonizing buildings and transportation by electrification is dependent on the electricity cars and homes run on being clean energy. 

The EPA is currently falling behind schedule on seven of ten power sector rules, including carbon standards mentioned in the letter. Absent these actions, modeling shows the administration will fall short of President Biden’s climate targets. As the largest near-term opportunity to reduce emissions, bold and swift action in the power sector is necessary to ensure healthier communities, lower energy costs, more good jobs, and a sustainable climate, for Pennsylvania and the whole nation.

Read the full letter here

"Pennsylvania families and communities need the EPA to move further and faster to reduce carbon pollution and deadly soot, smog, and mercury from our power plants. Pennsylvania is one of the largest electricity producers in the country, and two-thirds of our power is still generated by fossil fuels,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council. “President Biden entered office with a bold commitment to clean up the power sector, and now is the time to act."

"Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is happy to join alongside our partners in delivering this letter to the Environmental Protection Agency. The sacredness of people and planet is a value held in common across many religious traditions. Pennsylvanians of faith want to see bold climate action from the Biden administration,” said Katie Ruth, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light. “Cutting pollution in the power sector and expanding clean energy efforts is an urgent and moral necessity. The commitments in the Inflation Reduction Act are a step in the right direction, but not enough. It is critical that its implementation is administered well and accessible to the communities who need it most. This is an opportunity to protect our communities, prioritize our health, and preserve a livable planet." 

“Rural communities in Pennsylvania have been burdened with polluted air and water for decades,” shared Ethan Story, Advocacy Director with the Center for Coalfield Justice. “The Biden administration has a generational opportunity to reduce climate pollution from power plants, enhance public health, reduce energy costs for consumers, and help create a more just transition for underserved communities. We need this Administration to act now.”

“It’s time for the Biden administration to take action to cut pollution in the power sector and deliver on their clean energy agenda. This letter sends a clear message to the administration that bold action in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change is popular and supported in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Justin Balik, Evergreen Action state program director. “The Biden administration has an opportunity to reduce health and financial impacts on consumers, as well as support the creation of a just, thriving and inclusive clean energy economy.”   

The letter’s signatories represent the wide range of organizations working in the state, including national environmental organizations, environmental justice advocates, faith-based groups, the public health community, outdoor conservation organizations, clean energy campaigners, state and local groups, and more — coming together to combat the effects of climate change on the health and safety of Pennsylvania communities.