On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency released the 645-page Clean Power Plan, at the behest of President Obama, in hopes of curtailing any detrimental climate change effects perpetuated by man-made pollution – and to protect public health.
One of the major targets of the proposal are the country's innumerable power plants, which, according to the EPA, account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
"Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source--power plants," said EPA Administrator and Dorchester-native Gina McCarthy in a statement. "By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids."
In essence, the plan outlines a bevy of steps the EPA will do to cut emissions by 2030, while helping individual states identify effective and achievable goals to reduce their own respective carbon emissions. As McCarthy mentions in the video clip above, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, therefore, each state's path to cleaner energy and a greener environment is different.
For Massachusetts, a nationwide leader in environmental protection efforts and innovative prevention measures, shouldn't be difficult. Since 1990, Massachusetts has cut its emissions by a hefty 16 percent. According to Governor Deval Patrick's office, there are currently 518 megawatts of solar capacity installed, enough electricity to power nearly 79,000 homes. Similarly, 103 megawatts of land-based wind have been installed in the state.
“I applaud EPA’s new carbon rules, which will unleash clean energy innovation and reduce energy costs while protecting our environment and public health,” said Governor Patrick. “This is a critical step in moving the nation toward a clean energy future, one that we’ve already embraced in Massachusetts with great results. The Obama Administration is showing leadership in clean energy for American citizens today, and in the future.”
But, while Massachusetts sits amongst the upper-echelon of states safeguarding Mother Nature, there's still ample work to be done on her behalf.
In 2012, the Bay State's emission rate was 925 pounds/megawatt hours, according to the EPA. To put that number into perspective, consider that Wyoming's 2012 emission rate was 2,115 pounds/megawatt hours.
The EPA's goal for Massachusetts by 2030 is to reduce that number to a much more manageable 576 pounds/megawatt hours. How we can achieve this will be decided by state officials. When Governor Patrick (or his successor) and constituent officials on Beacon Hill will determine these strategies is unclear at this time, but given his and the gubernatorial pool's affinity for diminishing pollution in the state and nationwide, we're likely to see some environmental action soon enough.
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