"The clean energy age is launching."

Pacific Northwest elected officials, business leaders, health experts and clean energy economy leaders responded to today’s announcement of the Obama administration taking action to curb carbon pollution from power plants.

Today, the EPA issued the rules to implement the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The rules will set the country’s first national limits on climate pollution from electricity generation. Power plants are the nation’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide, responsible for 37 percent of U.S. emissions. Oregon gets 33% of its power from coal fired electricity and another 11-12% from natural gas. Washington State gets about 13% of power from coal, and another 11% from natural gas.

Reactions from around the Northwest:

King County, WA Executive Dow Constantine:

“To successfully confront climate change we must go directly to the source of carbon emissions – and one of the largest sources in our nation is emissions from power plants. That’s why today’s bold action by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency is so important.

“Rising sea levels and extreme-weather events are already costing each of us dearly. By setting limits on carbon emissions from power plants, the EPA shifts the cost of pollution back to its source, and harnesses the power of the marketplace to drive innovation and investment in clean, renewable energy.”

Oregon State Representative Tobias Read (D-27):

"We must take steps now to limit carbon that pollutes our air and drives climate change. I applaud the President and EPA for issuing the first ever proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants. The Clean Power Plan is a tremendous opportunity for Oregon to continue to reduce our dependence on coal power, deepen our already strong record on energy efficiency, and support the growth of renewable energy industries in Oregon."

Carrie Nyssen, Vice President of Advocacy and Air Quality for the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific:

“The health and prosperity of our communities require real action on climate. Today President Obama and EPA take the single biggest step we can take to fight climate change right now by setting limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Without clean air, good health isn’t possible. Carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants lead to thousands of premature deaths, higher risks of asthma attacks and respiratory disease, and hundreds of thousands of missed work and low activity days. The Northwest is well positioned to seize this opportunity presented by these rules to grow the clean energy economy and invest in a healthy future."

Sam Tannahill, Founder and Director of Viticulture and Winemaking at A to Z Wineworks and REX HILL Winery:

“Setting limits on carbon pollution will help America strike a major blow against climate change and ensure our country has the affordable, reliable power we need to grow our economy. A to Z Wineworks urges the EPA to implement strong Clean Power Plan rules. As a business in the wine industry, we understand the detrimental impacts climate change could cause on the availability of water and the grapes we grow. But acting now to implement the Clean Power Plan, we begin to mitigate this risk from climate change. This is also in part why we invest in operational efficiencies and elect to purchase clean wind power from our electrical provider – it simply makes good business sense.”

Kurt Widmer and Rob Widmer, founders, Widmer Brothers Brewing:

“At Widmer Brothers Brewing, we maintain a serious commitment to our shared energy future. We are tracking our energy usage and implementing changes to our operations, resulting in reduced energy use and real cost savings. In our industry, we know that water availability and even barley production – two key ingredients in making beer – are impacted by climate change. We support the Clean Power Plan rules as another important step to reduce carbon pollution.”

Brenna Davis, Director of Sustainability, Virginia Mason Health System:

"Clean air is essential to leading a healthy life. The Clean Power Plan will lay the groundwork for cleaner air for everyone, including the most vulnerable in our community."

KC Golden, Senior Policy Advisor, Climate Solutions:

“The clean energy transition is on. With responsible limits on climate pollution, a results-driven clean power plan, and a solid federal commitment, America can now drive this transition with pace and purpose. The Clean Energy Age is launching, the Fossil Fuel Age is winding down, and the promise of sustainable, broadly shared prosperity is becoming real.  This plan shows we have the means to deliver real climate solutions – if we have the will and the wisdom to step it all the way up.”

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The article was written by Climate Solutions staff. Our individual bios can be found here.

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