How to make Black Friday less black: Support clean air

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While you’re busy eating and shopping the weekend, the clock is ticking down on the time you have to comment on the EPA’s proposed new rules for cutting back the allowed emissions from coal-fired power plants.

This proposed Clean Power Plan — could it have a more generic name? — would tighten the allowed emissions from coal-fired power plants, which are considered the single worst source of CO2 emissions in the world, and therefore, are the single biggest contributor to climate change and global warming. In this day of sensitivity about states’ rights, the EPA would not directly regulate the power plants, but would set up federal guidelines that states would have to meet in regulating coal emissions.

Other human activities  — deforestation, industrial livestock production, tail pipe pollution — are taking a toll on the atmosphere as well. But most pie charts will show you that burning coal is about the worst thing for the planet. It’s why groups like Sierra Club have made getting rid of coal power a priority. Coal emissions also come with nasty side effects, like arsenic and mercury, which they drop into the ocean, poisoning marine life (i.e., your tuna sandwich).

The new rule has critics on both sides. Climate deniers see it as unnecessary, as do some lawmakers representing their electricity industry benefactors. Some environmentalists say the rule doesn’t go far enough, and that the EPA should impose rules directly on power plants and not leave it to the states, some of which have poor enforcement records. Texas, for instance, generates the most coal emissions and is known for lax environmental enforcement.

So if you have a comment, yea or nay, on tightening the rules for coal-fired power plants, you’ve got until Monday, Dec. 1, to register it. You’ll be joining 1.2 million others who’ve commented since the new rule was proposed in June 2014.

Commenting is easy. You can blab online at the Federal eRulemaking portal or snail mail it in. The full directions with links are below.

Isn’t the air you breathe as important as figuring out the best deal on a new computer?

From the EPA:

Comments on the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule must be received by December 1, 2014. Be sure to reference Docket ID:

Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking portal: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments
    Internet Explorer 8 and above users: If you are experiencing issues linking directly to the docket in the eRulemaking portal, try one of these methods:

    • Right click on Federal eRulemaking portal and a menu will appear. To open the docket page in a new window, select “Open” or “Open in new window.” To open the docket in a new tab, select “Open in new tab.”
    • Copy and paste the link into the browser’s address bar:!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602-0001
    • Try another browser – the link should work without issue using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browsers.
  • Email Include docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602 in the subject line of the message
  • Fax: Fax your comments to: .
  • Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mailcode 28221T, Attention Docket ID No. OAR–2013-0602, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to: EPA Docket Center, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20460.  Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

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