The Proposed Repeal of the Clean Power Plan Shortchanges the Benefits of Energy Efficiency

October 19, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency, in its proposal this week to repeal the Clean Power Plan, ignores the full benefits of energy efficiency---a key strategy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the repeal language focuses on a legal interpretation of the Clean Air Act that, if upheld, would likely take some of the best options for reducing emissions off the table. 

The EPA also changes the calculus for determining the costs and benefits of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration effort to limit emissions from power plants. Many of the changes are nuanced, but overall, the new analysis would increase the plan's estimated costs and reduce its benefits---notably, the health benefits. 

The new EPA analysis overlooks the fact that by reducing energy waste, we cut not only carbon but also dangerous particulate emissions, soot, and mercury. These pollutants cause and worsen a variety of diseases affecting the heart, lungs, and brain. Reducing these pollutants protects public health and saves lives, but the EPA analysis turns a blind eye to many of those benefits... 

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