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June 28, 2012
Investors Urge Congressional Leaders to Support EPA Authority
    by Robert Kropp

A coalition led by Calvert urges leaders in both houses of Congress to oppose resolution that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants. reported yesterday that a US Appeals Court has sided with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) position that it has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants.

As sustainable investors and other advocates for environmentally responsible policies know only too well, the courts are not the only venue in which opponents to a sustainable and low-carbon economy attempt to derail meaningful responses to climate change. The halls of Congress are another.

Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma—who famously called climate change "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," and who counts among his top campaign contributors the electric utilities industry—has introduced a resolution of disapproval in an effort to prevent EPA from implementing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants.

The rule, introduced in December, would require power plants that have not done so already to install pollution control equipment within the next three years. The rule is expected to result in a 90% reduction of mercury emissions nationwide. Mercury is a neurotoxin especially harmful to children and pregnant women, and the rule will prevent 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year, according to EPA. It will also prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms a year, as well as more than 6,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children.

In response to Inhofe's efforts to undermine EPA's regulatory authority, a coalition of investors associated with the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) has written to Congressional leaders, urging them to oppose the resolution introduced by Inhofe.

The 34 institutional investors, led by Calvert Investments and representing more than $200 billion in assets under management, stated in their letter, "Issuing the MATS rule will provide investors and companies the certainty they need to make long-term capital allocation decisions. The rule represents a historic step to curb hazardous emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic and acid gases from the nation’s oldest and dirtiest power plants and it will unleash investment in our nation's energy infrastructure and create jobs up and down the supply chain."

"We believe the electric power industry is well positioned to comply with this proposed rule without threatening electric system reliability," the letter continued. The investors pointed out that most coal-fired power plants have already invested in the necessary pollution control equipment, and that compliance with the rule could lead to the creation of 117,000 jobs by 2015.


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