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August 4, 2015

CT officials rejoice over Obama clean air ruling

HBJ File Photo Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
HBJ File Photo George Jepsen, Connecticut attorney general
Robert Klee, DEEP commissioner

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final approval of the Clean Power Plan on Monday led to widespread praise from Connecticut’s top officials, mostly for its efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“This is about our future,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. “The action we take now will endure for generations to come … In Connecticut, we have already implemented a forward-thinking vision, reducing carbon pollution by more than 10 percent from 1990 levels. The air we breathe is cleaner that it has been in decades as we build an advanced energy economy that delivers good-paying jobs.”

The Clean Power Plan – which is the result of work done by President Barack Obama’s administration since he first took office in 2009 – will cut by 2030 U.S. carbon pollution from the power sector by 870 million tons, or 32 percent below 2005 levels. The EPA rule establishes guidelines for states to follow in administering their carbon reduction plans and say the EPA will use its guidelines if a state fails to submit an adequate plan.

Connecticut’s Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and Commissioner Robert Klee of the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection all said the decision will lead to healthier air and a better future for Connecticut. Connecticut was among the 12 states that originally sued EPA to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which led to a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision that Monday’s final plan was based upon.

“While my office is still reviewing the plan, I applaud President Obama and the EPA for honoring their pledge to reduce carbon emissions over the next several years,” Jepsen said. “The state of Connecticut has consistently demonstrated a commitment to clean air, reduced emissions and the development of alternative energy sources, and this plan will play an essential role in continued efforts to protect our environment and public health, safety and welfare.”

Klee said DEEP is launching a detailed review of the Clean Power Plan so it can develop the compliance plan that is required of all states.

“From what we know about the plan so far, we are pleased to hear that the rule not only maintains but improves the stringency of carbon reduction targets, and that it incorporates opportunities for more cost-effective reductions, especially in states that have not yet taken significant action to reduce their carbon footprint,” Klee said.

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