Press Release | December 2, 2014

Southeastern States Have Clear Path for Meeting Carbon Pollution Targets Under Clean Power Plan

For Immediate Release
December 2, 2014

Contacts:

Regional – Frank Rambo, Southern Environmental Law Center, 434-977-4090, frambo@selcva.org

Virginia – Angela Navarro, 434-977-4090, anavarro@selcva.org

North Carolina – Gudrun Thompson, 919-967-1450, gthompson@selcnc.org

South Carolina – Blan Holman, 843-720-5270, bholman@selcsc.org

Georgia – Kurt Ebersbach, 404-521-9900, kebersbach@selcga.org

Alabama – Kurt Ebersbach, 404-521-9900, kebersbach@selcga.org

Tennessee – Frank Rambo, 434-977-4090, frambo@selcva.org

 

As Comment Period Closes for the Clean Power Plan, Southeastern States Have Clear Path for Meeting Carbon Pollution Targets

Charlottesville, VA – Southeastern states have a clear and achievable path to proposed federal carbon protections and can spur new clean energy jobs while meeting the new pollution standards, according to comments submitted yesterday by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) to the Environmental Protection Agency.

December 1 marked the end of the public comment period for the proposed Clean Power Plan – which gives states wide latitude in how to meet state-specific emission reduction goals that collectively would cut carbon emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 – and SELC submitted comments with roadmap for achieving reduction goals in each of its state (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee).  

While Southeastern states are well on their way to meeting pollution reduction targets via older coal plant retirements and natural gas conversions, with some states already 80% or more of the way there, SELC’s comments outline several ways that states can meet their goals through new investments in wind, solar, and energy efficiency programs.

“While we’ve known that the Clean Power Plan presents a great opportunity to grow clean energy jobs, we now have a roadmap for each state that lays out practical and cost-effective ways to get there,” said Frank Rambo, senior attorney and leader of the Clean Energy and Air program at SELC.  “Each state is well positioned to meet – and even exceed – these reasonable targets, paving the way for a stronger, cleaner economy.”

While there are some promising steps that Southeastern states have taken in recent years to reduce carbon emissions, the region continues to fall behind in clean energy investments and the related job growth. The comments to EPA outline just how much is possible under the Clean Power Plan. For example:

  • Virginia, already 80 of the way to meeting its targets, can easily exceed the standards by deepening investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Doing so will lower household electric bills by up to 8%, grow a robust clean energy job market, and provide over half a billion dollars in carbon reduction benefits for all Virginians.
  • As a result of its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards and other measures, North Carolina has already taken or committed to take steps that will allow it to exceed its Clean Power Plan target.
  • South Carolina was already moving to lower carbon energy and starting to tap its vast solar reserves before EPA announced this rule and is on excellent footing to compete with other states in a clean energy economy.
  • Georgia is well positioned to meet a 48% reduction goal by 2030 in part through the tremendous growth of its solar industry in the past few years – Georgia saw a 255% increase in solar jobs in 2013, the highest increase in the country.
  • Not quite halfway to its goal, Alabama hasn’t made the progress other states have, but the Clean Power Plan presents the opportunity for the state to develop the clean energy resources that are funneling jobs to other areas of the South.
  • With measures in place or in the works, Tennessee is almost 9/10ths of the way towards achieving its emission target, and is poised to make even greater strides that will slash its carbon footprint and bring new jobs into the state.

To read SELC’s state-specific comments to the EPA on the Clean Power Plan:

Virginia

North Carolina

South Carolina

Georgia

Alabama

Tennessee

 

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The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of more than 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org.

Press Contacts

Gudrun Thompson

Senior Attorney and interim Leader of SELC’s Clean Energy and Air Program

Phone: 919-967-1450