Wisconsin would benefit from 34 percent carbon emissions reduction at power plants

MADISON — Members of the health, faith, environmental and youth communities came together Wednesday to show their support for EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. Clean Wisconsin released a report, Cutting Carbon Works for Wisconsinwhich the group shared with the EPA and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources amid the show of community support for the EPA plan.

“EPA’s proposal is a practical, reasonable and achievable step toward healthier air and a higher quality of life in Wisconsin,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin. “If we prioritize increasing investments in energy efficiency we can meet EPA’s goals for Wisconsin and reduce home and business owners’ energy bills at the same time.” The EPA Clean Power Plan, currently in draft form, would help to reduce carbon pollution from Wisconsin power plants by 34 percent below 2012 levels over the next 15 years. To date, more than 1.5 million public comments have been filed on the plan. The public comment period is open through Dec. 1.

‘This is about safeguarding everyone – kids, families and seniors – from the dangerous effects of pollution on our health,” said Dr. Michele Brogunier, a family practitioner in Madison. “Cutting carbon pollution would be a very responsible step forward to help reduce the severity of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.”

Climate and weather disasters in 2012 cost the American economy more than $100 billion.  The Clean Power Plan will lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.

“It’s troubling to think just how much climate change could further complicate global issues such as hunger, poverty and potable water,” said Peter Bakken, coordinator for Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light. “Many in the faith community feel a true responsibility to act because our congregations have already been hard at work on these issues for years.”

Nationally, the EPA proposal is expected to contribute to an 8 percent reduction in electricity bills by 2030. Cutting Carbon Works for Wisconsin finds that increasing the role of energy efficiency programs such as Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy will create savings and jobs. The report also recommends a comprehensive stakeholder process to determine how Wisconsin can maximize renewable energy and energy efficiency to meet the EPA’s goal and benefit Wisconsin residents.

“The Clean Power Plan is the United States’ biggest step towards tackling climate change, and it has the support of students and young people across the nation,” said Brianna Zawada, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student. “We recognize that it is our time to stand up for future generation’s rights to an inhabitable, healthy, and beautiful earth.”

Find Cutting Carbon Works for Wisconsin here.