McCarthy: 'If Your Kid Doesn't Use an Inhaler...Consider Yourself a Very Lucky Parent'

Susan Jones | June 2, 2014 | 11:36am EDT
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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. ( File Photo/Penny Starr)

( - EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced new pollution rules Monday that will force states to reduce air pollution by relying less on coal-fired power plants and more on "green" energy sources.

"If your kid doesn't use an inhaler, you should consider yourself a very lucky parent, because one in ten kids in the U.S. suffers from asthma," she told a rooomful of climate-change believers, who gave her a standing ovation.

"Carbon pollution from power plants comes packaged with dangerous pollutants, like particular matter, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, and they put our children and our families at even more risk."

She mentioned children several times in her speech, at one point interrupting herself to ask, "Are these Girl Scouts?" She was talking about children in the audience.

McCarthy said the new regulations will reduce average electricity bills -- in 16 years or so. "When the effects of this plan are in place in 2030, average electricity bills will be 8 percent cheaper."

She also addressed anticipated criticism of the plan: "Critics claim that your energy  bills with skyrocket. Well, they're wrong. Shall I say that again? they're wrong.

"Any small short term change in electricity prices would be within normal fluctuations the power sector has already dealt with for years. And any small price increase that we see as a result of this rule is about the price of a gallon of milk a month."

McCarthy called the new rules an "investment in better health and in a better future for our kids

She said the rules will lower medical bills, especially for children with asthma.

"This is also about environmental justice," she said, "because lower income families and communities of color are hardest hit."

According to McCarthy, the new rules will set "achievable, enforceable state goals to cut carbon pollution per megawatt hour of electricity generated." And each state will have the "flexibility" to "reach their goal in whatever way works best for them."

"All told, in 2030, when the states meet their final goals, our proposal will result in a 30 percent less carbon pollution from the power sector across the United States in comparison with 2005 levels."

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