Governor Markell Testifies in Support of EPA Plan to Cut Power Plant Emissions
Says Delaware’s success shows proposal can work nationally
Washington, DC – Speaking at one of four sites of nationwide public hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power plan, Governor Markell emphasized the environmental and economic benefits of the proposal to reduce dirty emissions from the nation’s power plants by 30 percent by 2030. (Text of his prepared remarks is below.)
Markell noted that Delaware cut these emissions faster than any other state by shutting down or fuel-switching the state’s dirtiest power plants while also placing a greater focus on renewable energy sources, promoting energy efficiency, and working in partnership with other states in the region. All of these efforts would be encouraged by EPA’s approach, which provides guidelines, but gives states flexibility to design a program that makes the most sense for their unique situations.
The Governor also alluded to the impact of powerful weather events like Superstorm Sandy that will occur more frequently if climate change continues unabated.
“Governors do not have the luxury of pretending climate change is not causing real damage,” said Markell. “We are on the front lines of hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and other natural disasters. We see the property that is devastated and the cost of addressing the damage after the fact. We live with the consequences of inaction. Our families and businesses can’t afford to wait and see what happens next before we act. I’m thrilled the EPA has issued this new rule and I look forward to its implementation.”
Following his testimony today, Markell joined U.S. Senator Ed Markey (MA) and other supporters outside the hearing room at the William Jefferson Clinton Building to highlight the importance of this initiative to address climate change, clean up the air, create jobs, and reduce asthma attacks in children and other health problems.
Reverend Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, Cristobal Alex of the Latino Victory Fund, the Green Latinos’ Mark Magaña, and Dr. Cindy Parker, a physician and professor at Johns Hopkins, also participated to outline the health implications of carbon pollution and other impacts of climate change. The event was organized by a broad coalition of groups including Moms Clean Air Force, Interfaith Power & Light, National Wildlife Federation, the Climate Action Coalition, and Sierra Club.
The Clean Power Plan would be implemented through a state-federal partnership under which states use current or new electricity production and pollution control policies to meet state-specific goals to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, which accounts for roughly one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. States can choose the right mix of: power generation using diverse fuels, including renewables; energy efficiency initiatives; and multi-state plans. The initiative’s emissions reductions would reduce the impact of climate change on communities, improve public health, and create jobs in manufacturing, construction, and research.
Governor Markell Testimony at Public Hearing on EPA’s Clean Power Plan
Remarks as prepared for delivery
I’m Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware, and I’m testifying in support of the Clean Power Plan not because of what we think might be possible with this policy change, but because we know what this plan can do for the nation. The EPA’s proposal to address climate change would mean cleaner air; better health; more research, manufacturing and construction jobs; and more efficient, less costly energy.
We know that because we see all of this happening in Delaware, where, over the past five years, we’ve shifted from one of the dirtiest energy mixes in the nation to one of the cleanest. We have decreased emissions by a greater percentage than any other state, while creating jobs at the same time. And we have done so with the same approach the president proposes for the country. We shut down or fuel-switched nine out of our ten dirtiest power plants, while the remaining unit installed hundreds of millions of dollars in pollution controls. We’ve increased deployment of solar technology 30 times since 2008. And we’ve strengthened building codes and spurred more than $100 million in efficiency upgrades. We’ve also worked with states throughout the region to dramatically cut carbon pollution. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has used a market-based system to help reduce carbon pollution from power plants in our states by more than 40 percent since 2005.
EPA’s plan will stimulate more of all of this activity across the nation. It lets states use solutions that work best for us individually to reduce dirty emissions, recognizing that power plants produce more of those emissions than any other source in the country. As one example of what our strategy has meant for Delaware, I recently visited a site in Dover where hundreds of people are working to build a natural gas power-generating facility for Calpine Energy. Calpine has made it a priority to transition away from the power plants that produce the most emissions. Yes, they do it because they care about the environment. But they also do it because it’s good for their bottom line. In addition, facilities like the one in Dover will produce cost-effective energy that reduces energy bills while making our state more attractive to manufacturers.
In fact, across the country, it’s projected that the Clean Power Plan would shrink electricity bills by about eight percent by increasing efficiency and reducing demand. The economic benefits of this plan go far beyond the impact on individual energy companies or consumers’ bills. A report last month on the economic risks of climate change illustrates the widespread effects – including damage to the agriculture and energy sectors, as well as to coastal communities, public health and our labor productivity. And all of this damage costs us a lot of money.
In Delaware, we have seen how rising sea levels, more powerful and frequent storms, and other extreme weather conditions put families and businesses at risk. Our largest industry – agriculture – faces severe conditions that harm crops. And, as the lowest-lying state in the nation, climate change could literally put much of Delaware under water.
All states face their own challenges. Governors do not have the luxury of pretending climate change is not causing real damage. We are on the front lines of hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and other natural disasters. We see the property that is devastated and the cost of addressing the damage after the fact. We live with the consequences of inaction. Our families and businesses can’t afford to wait and see what happens next before we act. I’m thrilled that the EPA has issued this new rule and I look forward to its implementation. Thank you.