For this Virginian, clean energy is personal

by Rovert Meyers

July 23, 2014

The Greenpeace thermal airship A.E. Bates flies over Duke Energy's Marshall coal-fired power plant on Lake Norman. Banners on the airship read "Duke: Don't Raise Rates for Dirty Energy" and "Cleaner is Cheaper." The flight calls attention to Duke Energy's plans to continue using coal, nuclear and other forms of dangerous energy at great public cost.

© Jason Miczek / Greenpeace

One of my daughters developed asthma after we moved to Virginia 18 years ago. I know the horror of trying to help a frightened child struggling to breathe. I worry about her every day. Sensible limits on power plant emissions, such as those proposed in the EPA's Clean Energy Plan, wont eliminate respiratory illness, but will reduce the severity and incidence of breathing problems. The impact of pollution from power plants is clear. The impacts of the warming climate caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases are already costing the people of Virginia. Unregulated carbon pollution will cause millions of dollars in damage to our coastal areas and every part of the state as extreme weather intensifies and becomes more frequent. The EPA's Clean Energy Plan will place the first limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants. Not that long ago, we had no restrictions on where people could smoke and no warnings about the health impacts from smoking and breathing second hand smoke. Once the link with lung cancer, emphysema and other diseases was clearly established, government found the will to regulate this activity. Yet the Clean Power Plan is worth far more for the development of a vibrant renewable energy industry in Virginia. With abundant solar, wind, wave and water resources, Virginia can benefit from the growth in employment and the savings to consumers with growth in clean energy infrastructure and energy efficient technology. Neighboring states like North Carolina are reaping this benefit already. Virginia needs to get moving to catch up. For more than 10 years I have paid Dominion Power extra so that they can purchase energy from renewable resources equivalent to the amount that my family and I consume. I want this energy to come from clean power sources in Virginia. I want to enjoy the savings, the health benefits and the prosperity that come from moving away from the coal-powered energy production of the past. I support the EPA Clean Power Plan. [caption id="attachment_28413" align="aligncenter" width="550"]On a Mountain in Coloroado My family on a mountain in Colorado a few years ago. Breathing clean air.[/caption] Im going to ask the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality who are holding a hearing at John Marshall Library, Thursday, July 24th, 2014, at 6209 Rose Hill Drive,Alexandria, VA22310, from 5-8 p.m., to support the EPAs Clean Power Plan. Im going to wait my turn to submit 3 minutes of comments about why the Virginia DEQ should support limits on carbon emissions from power plants. Virginians, please join mein supporting standards to improve the air quality of Virginia, to promote the health of people of the Commonwealth and, through the development of clean energy sources and the mitigation of costly climate change impacts, increase the wealth of our State. If you don't live in Virginia, similar hearings are probably going to be held in your state. The EPA is holding national hearings on the plan in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh next week. Don't live in those cities? Submit your comment online!

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