Atlanta readers may have heard that the Environmental Protection Agency released a new rule at the beginning of June which aims to cut back carbon emissions to 30 percent by the year 2030. Already, Georgia Power has starting the process of upgrading units at its plants so as to come into compliance with the new rule. More shutdowns are reportedly scheduled for next year
The new EPA rule, of course, has been welcomed by environmentalist groups, including the Sierra Club, which has pointed out that widespread adoption of the standard in the state of Georgia will result in reduced health and environmental risks, but also in lower costs for electricity. Georgia Power, though, has said that implementing the rule will lead to rate increase. Even so, the public health benefits and reduction of pollution will be significant.
The public health issue of coal emissions is no small one. According to environmentalists, air pollution from coal plants can result in respiratory illnesses and breathing difficulties, particularly for infants. Potential sources of such pollution are, of course, power plants, but also incinerators and refineries. The pollution put out by these plants can cause not only breathing problems, but other health problems as well.
Air pollution is a serious issue and those who are harmed by the noncompliance of industries need to understand their rights for recovery. There are both federal and state agencies responsible for enforcing compliance with environmental laws, and companies that choose not to cooperate need to be held accountable.
Source: Atlanta Progressive, “Proposed new EPA Clean Power Plan Rule Could Impact Georgia’s Mix,” Courtney Hanson, June 20, 2014.