Clean Power Plan Finalized - Center for Rural Affairs applauds White House announcement
Lyons, NE - Today, President Barack Obama and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Gina McCarthy announced EPA’s release of the final version of the Clean Power Plan, establishing the first U.S. limits on carbon pollution.
“We applaud the Administration for taking this step. The Clean Power Plan will provide Nebraska with a significant opportunity to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and protect our communities by stepping up our commitment to renewable energy and greater energy efficiency,” said Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch, Energy and Climate Program Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. “We know these industries have room for significant growth here in Nebraska, which is a win for Nebraska’s rural communities and low-income households.”
According to Kolojejchick-Kotch, the Clean Power Plan requires the nation’s existing power plants to reduce carbon pollution by an average of 32% by 2030, an increase from the target of 30 percent proposed in the draft rule. States must submit implementation plan drafts by 2016, with final versions coming due in 2018. The final rule also includes incentives for states that invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency prior to 2022.
Nebraska ranks 7th highest among the states for per capita energy consumption, while it consistently ranks in the bottom third for its efforts to use energy more efficiently, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
“Investments in energy efficiency can provide a significant benefit to ratepayers, especially in low income households and rural communities,” added Kolojejchick-Kotch. “And renewable energy keeps money closer to home. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory forecasted that an 80 megawatt wind farm, the size of just one farm in Broken Bow, Nebraska, can generate nearly 400 jobs, $4.8 million in land lease payments, and $6.3 million in new tax revenues for schools and services like local fire and police forces. That spending translates into $50.14 million in local economic benefits.”
“Nebraska’s wind resources have the potential to meet more than 118 times the state’s current energy needs, and large-scale solar energy could provide over three hundred times our needs,” Kolojejchick-Kotch continued. “With new incentives under the Clean Power Plan, pairing our incredible renewable resources with energy efficiency measures is an opportunity that Nebraska can’t ignore. These energy options can create good-paying jobs and keep money closer to home in the communities and households that need them the most.”
“During the open comment period for the Clean Power Plan proposal, the Center for Rural Affairs helped nearly 1100 rural residents submit comments in support of a strong carbon rule, emphasizing the need to invest in long-term solutions that benefit and protect current and future generations,” Kolojejchick-Kotch continued.
“We need to take steps to limit carbon that pollutes our air and drives climate change,” concluded Kolojejchick-Kotch. “As we review the Clean Power Plan in the coming months, we should emphasize energy options that help dramatically reduce emissions and protect our health, while benefiting rural communities and keeping our hard-earned dollars closer to home. We should champion an implementation plan that is more than just a temporary fix, but favors solutions that are widely beneficial in the long term.”
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