30,000 Public Comments for Clean Power
Mondays public comment delivery marks the culmination of two years of grassroots work to put climate change at the forefront of the President and the EPA's agenda. It's a milestone moment that capped months of big actions by supporters at Environmental Action, and weeks of big action and talk from the White House.
With all the numbers counted, Environmental Action members submitted 30,000 public comments. We were joined by another 220,00 from our allies at Americans Against Fracking that specifically proposed to take natural gas and fracking out of the "clean power" equation. In total, several million public comments were submitted by environmental groups to support and strengthen the President's Clean Power Plan.
Millions of public comments and over 400,000 people marching in the streets for the People's Climate March are clearly having an impact. Over the last few weeks, President Obama has put climate change front and center in his agenda; Speaking often and forcefully on the need for action, and just a few weeks ago signing a joint agreement with China to reduce global warming pollution drastically.
Obama's proposed Clean Power Plan is the most ambitious action on climate ever proposed by an American President. If implemented correctly, the Clean Power Plan could reduce global warming pollution from power plants to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and jumpstart energy efficiency and renewable energy use. But, as the plan is currently written, electricity companies will be able to switch from coal-fired power plants, to gas-fired plants. This would undoubtedly increase the demand for fracked gas and could undo the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions when fracking causes more and more frequent leaks of methane, a heat trapping gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
What's next? EPA administrator Gina McCarthy's staff will review the public comments and use public input to shape the final implementation of the Clean Power Rules. Stay tuned for more information on the final Clean Power Rules and how the fracking is address in the finished version.