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President’s Climate Plan Embraces NRDC Vision

D

the largest single source of global

each year, a staggering 40 percent

warming pollution in the United

of the country’s total.

espite years of scientific

America’s coal-fired and other power

consensus about the dire

plants, which account for some 2.4

threat of climate change,

billion metric tons of CO2 pollution

States has gone almost entirely

NRDC has long been at the forefront

unchecked — until now. In June,

of the fight to rein in those emissions,

President Obama announced a

putting forth a detailed plan last

sweeping plan to tackle climate

year that would cut carbon pollution

change, which includes, for the first time ever, reducing carbon emissions at the nation’s existing

from existing power plants by 26 Pollution from a coal-fired power plant.

power plants. “This is a watershed moment,” says Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program. “It’s heartening to see the administration enthusi­as­tically Smoke stacks © Skyscan/Corbis

embrace the sort of reductions in carbon pollution that we’ve been advocating.”

percent over seven years, even as it would create some 210,000

jobs and reduce the average American’s electric bill. Many insiders expect that plan to figure prominently in the Environmental Protection Agency’s own strategy as it carries out the president’s climate agenda. “We’re pleased that the Obama Administration has committed to bold

Although pollutants such as arsenic, lead and mercury have

action,” says Lashof. “But there’s still much more work to

long been regulated, never before have federal limits been

be done, and we have to be vigilant that industry doesn’t

imposed on the massive amounts of carbon spewing from

derail the process.”

NRDC Wins New Protections for Marine Mammals in the Gulf

T

hanks to a landmark agreement, whales and

noise at that level can

other marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico

cause harm, yet that’s

will finally receive protection from the devastating

what whales and

impact of seismic airguns, which the oil and gas industry

dolphins in the Gulf

uses for offshore exploration. The milestone protections

are routinely having

are the result of a settlement reached with the Obama

to suffer through.”

Administration and industry in a federal lawsuit brought

Whale © Brandon Cole

by NRDC and our allies.

6

Bryde's whale.

The toll of this industrial onslaught has been even more acute in the wake of BP’s catastrophic oil spill in

For years the oil and gas industry has deployed airguns

2010. Many of the Gulf’s marine mammal species, from

in the Gulf with virtually no restriction, subjecting

bottle­nose dolphins to endangered Bryde’s whales, are

threatened and endangered marine mammal species to a

still struggling to recover. The new protections will

relentless assault of explosive noise that is destroying their

immediately ban airgun blasting from biologically critical

ability to feed, mate and nurse their young — in short, to

areas, such as important feeding and calving grounds,

survive. “Throughout the northern Gulf, recent studies

and will require industry to better monitor for marine

show that noise from airguns alone averages nearly 120

mammal activity and to explore more environ­mentally

decibels throughout the year,” says Michael Jasny, director

sensitive alternatives to airguns, even as the Obama

of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project. “The

Administration undertakes a compre­hensive review

government says that just a single second of exposure to

of seismic exploration in the Gulf.


Nature's Voice Fall 2013