“Options for Montana’s Energy Future” Presents Approaches for Meeting the State’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Targets
(November 3, 2014)
With nearly a month to go before the close of the public comment period on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan, the State of Montana has gotten out in front with the release of its “Options for Montana’s Energy Future,” a document that presents several approaches for meeting Montana’s carbon pollution reduction target.
You may recall that in June, EPA proposed a first-of-its-kind plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Clean Power Plan will help cut carbon pollution (and thereby assist in lessening the devastating effects of climate change) by 30 percent nationwide from 2005 levels. The agency’s proposal is flexible, allowing states to choose for themselves how to meet their respective targets.
EPA has proposed a 21% carbon pollution reduction target for Montana. In preparation for a final rule and attendant deadlines, Governor Bullock asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to develop different scenarios for implementing the carbon pollution reductions. The State’s ideas include greater use of renewable energy and increasing efficiency, both by end users as well as coal-fired power plants.
“The American Lung Association appreciates Governor Bullock’s thoughtful approach to starting early and with ample opportunity for public involvement,” said Ronni Flannery, Montana Healthy Air Director for the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific. “We look forward to working with the Governor and the leadership team he’s appointed to develop a strong, state-driven plan that best serves Montana and best protects public health.”
Researchers from Harvard, Syracuse and Boston Universities recently released a new study bolstering earlier estimates that showed sizeable health benefits associated with reducing carbon pollution. The researchers confirmed that adopting strong carbon pollution limits will have an immediate, positive impact on public health by preventing an estimated 3,500 premature deaths, as well as preventing asthma attacks, heart attacks and other illnesses linked to air pollution, each year beginning in 2020. That’s ten years before the carbon pollution standards are expected to be fully implemented.
We need to protect those most at risk: our children, our elderly, and those with asthma or heart disease. The great news is that protecting them will also protect all citizens.
“Now that we fully understand how much there is to gain in terms of positive impact to public health, we are motivated as ever to engage in this process and help ensure that Montana’s plan leads to meaningful impact where it counts: our health and wellbeing,” said Flannery. “With an early start, we have a chance to develop a plan that can make the best use of proven tools like energy efficiency that can save Montanans money, and clean renewable sources that can use the beautiful Big Sky as a source of energy for our children. We look forward to identifying additional ways to strengthen the plan to reduce carbon pollution and protect our children’s health.”
If you haven’t already done so, it’s not too late to weigh in on EPA’s Clean Power Plan. One easy way is to submit an electronic comment here