U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the following statement today regarding the US Environmental Protection Agency's announcement that the agency plans to set performance standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and refineries in 2011 and 2012:
"I commend Rhode Island and the other states that have pushed EPA for nearly ten years to set carbon dioxide performance standards for power plants and refineries. Although the Clean Air Act requires EPA to update performance standards every 8 years, to keep pace with advances in science and technology, EPA last updated performance standards for utilities in 1979. Power plants and refineries contribute 40% of the carbon pollution in the US, and performance standards that drive more efficient designs of new plants is a common-sense way to reduce this pollution."
EPA's announcement comes on the heel of intense negotiations with states and organizations who petitioned the Bush EPA for failing to set these performance standards. According to the agreement, EPA has committed to proposing standards for power plants in July 2011, and proposing standards for refineries in December 2011. EPA would then finalize both rules in 2012.