Connecticut officials hail regulations as overdue

Hartford - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee on Monday all welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency's draft rule regulating carbon pollution from existing power plants.

Malloy said the action is overdue.

"It is long past time that we as a nation seriously and systemically confront the danger that carbon pollution poses to the health and well-being of our citizens," Malloy said in a news release. "To not act would be to abandon our children and our children's children to a planet that is unsustainably sick. I commend President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for the Clean Power Plan they proposed today, which signals to the world that we will lead by example and reduce carbon pollution, clean up our air, and begin curing the planet."

Rising levels of carbon pollution already are causing killer heat waves, devastating droughts and more destructive coastal and river flooding, Malloy said.

"Our infrastructure is vulnerable to catastrophic failure from powerful storms like Hurricane Sandy," he said. "Our farms, fisheries, and ecosystems are stressed and threaten future food supplies. But the good news is that it is not too late to solve this severe and growing problem and we know how to do it."

Connecticut and other states in the Northeast are leading the nation in reducing carbon emissions, but a national strategy is needed, he added. Initiatives include funding for energy savings programs, increases in renewable power and support for electric vehicles, among others.

Jepsen said the EPA is making appropriate use of its legal authority to regulate carbon emissions. The new regulations will help improve air quality and reduce public health risks, he said.

Klee added that Connecticut is already seeing the effects of climate change in rising sea levels and temperatures in Long Island Sound, more severe weather, more frequent flooding and changes in wildlife species and vegetation.

"The time to debate the reality of climate change has passed - and the moment for strong action to slow its course has arrived," he said.

j.benson@theday.com

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