Coal-fired power plants are the single biggest driver of global climate change in the United States. That’s why President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is moving quickly to put the finishing touches on a new set of regulations, called the Clean Power Plan, that aim to reduce the nation’s overall carbon footprint 30 percent by 2030 by cracking down on emissions from the energy sector.
Unsurprisingly, many power companies — particularly those that rely on coal as their main source of fuel — are crying foul. Recently, one major coal company and a dozen coal-reliant states tried to block the new rules in federal court. (The court decided last month not to hear the challenge, since the rules haven’t yet been finalized.) And this week, executives from two of the country’s biggest power companies met with White House officials in an attempt to persuade them that the crackdown would be “too much too soon.”
As it turns out, those same two companies — Duke Energy and American Electric Power — emit more carbon pollution than any other power producers in the country. That’s according to a new report released from a coalition of environmental groups and power companies, which draws on public data from the EPA and the Energy Information Administration to reveal the carbon footprints of the 100 biggest power producers in the nation…
There’s some good news in the data, as well. In the last few years, nationwide coal use has dropped precipitously. That’s mostly a product of market forces, rather than environmental regulation: Natural gas, made cheaper by the fracking boom, has displaced coal in power plants across the country. At the same time, renewable energy sources have boomed.
This will continue as long as ordinary citizens keep up the pressure on the Congressional clown show. Rightwing creeps – like New Mexico’s own Steve Pearce – continue to do their worst in conjunction with the remaining Blue Dog Democrats who were’t knocked off their rusty-dustys in the last couple of congressional elections.
But, sufficient pressure on everyone from the occupant of the White House to individual bureaucrats in DC – to your friendly neighborhood politicians in whichever state legislature you’re saddled with – all helps. Let them know we’re all watching. We all remember who deserves to lose their precious job.
RTFA – and check the charts to see if your own electricity giant made the lists.