On Sept. 9, Philip Joffrion, from the group Americans for Prosperity, wrote a commentary published in The Advocate that claimed new clean air safeguards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were going to result in “higher utility bills for years to come.” Mr. Joffrion cites dubious statistics implying that electric bills are going to go up, natural gas is going to be restricted and that there will be no environmental benefits to reducing carbon emissions.
The pro-polluter talking heads have been wrong decade after decade. They repeatedly try to convince us that the sky will fall when we protect our air and our water, but time and time again, their predictions never happen. Over the last 30 years, the Clean Air Act has cut emissions of the most common air pollutants by 63 percent. Our economy during that time grew over 147 percent. We don’t need to choose between a clean environment and strong economy. Through smart choices, our utilities can help us have both.
The EPA’s recently released Clean Power Plan is our nation’s first and best safeguard to limit dangerous carbon pollution from power plants. Before the Clean Power Plan, there had been no limit to the amount of carbon pollution that power plants could dump into our air, wreaking havoc on our health and our climate.
No state has more to lose and has more at risk from climate change than Louisiana. We’re planning to spend billions to restore marshes destroyed by poor engineering and careless fossil fuel companies, but all that money will be a waste if we continue to warm the climate. Rising sea levels along with subsidence will force more and more seawater into our coastal marshes. A warming climate also will intensify tropical storms. We’ll lose what is left of the ecosystems in our marshes, and we’ll also lose the storm protection, seafood and tourism industries that depend on a protected and restored coast.
The Clean Power Plan will combat the underlying causes of climate disruption by cutting down on carbon pollution and it will save Americans billions in avoidable health costs. Studies show that for every dollar invested to comply with the Clean Power Plan, Americans will save $7 in health costs thanks to less soot and smog pollution.
Louisiana can choose a path that reduces carbon and smog pollution and creates homegrown jobs in renewable energy and other low-carbon sources of power. We can reduce the emissions at very reasonable cost when compared to the benefits. Over 70 countries including China have now committed to reducing carbon emissions. We in Louisiana can do our part by supporting the Clean Power Plan.
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORÉ