The Board of County Commissioners of Broward County, Florida voted today to pass a resolution voicing support for the newly-proposed limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Also known as the Clean Power Plan, the proposed limits are particularly critical for South Florida, where flooding from sea level rise and intense storms are causing problems for residents because of climate change. Carbon is the number one pollutant exacerbating climate change and there currently are no regulations on how much carbon pollution power plants can emit.
One only needs a few facts to understand why this issue is so critical in South Florda:
- With just 9 inches of sea level rise, which is likely to happen by 2050, Southeast Florida could lose up to 70% of its gravity-powered stormwater drainage capacity. That means when it rains, communities will flood, even many miles away from the coast.
- It is estimated that inundation of real estate and infrastructure from sea level rise may have an impact of $3.5 trillion dollars in damages in Miami alone by 2070.
- According to estimates by city and county officials, with just 3 feet of sea level rise, 19 schools, 10 hospitals, 9 airports, 8 power plants, 2 ports, 8 water treatment plants, 4 landfills, and 6 emergency shelters would be inundated in just the four southeastern-most Florida counties.
77% of Florida’s population lives in coastal counties and 77% of the state’s economic activity is generated in coastal counties
We applaud the Commissioners of Broward County for demonstrating yet further leadership on this issue and we sincerely hope that Governor Scott, elected officials, and those running for office at all ranks from city councils to the President, heed the words of this resolution.
A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, SUPPORTING THE PROPOSED CLEAN POWER PLAN RULE AND CARBON POLLUTION LIMITS FOR EXISTING POWER PLANTS; DIRECTING THE COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR TO SUBMIT COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED CLEAN POWER PLAN RULE ON BEHALF OF BROWARD COUNTY; URGING THE STATE OF FLORIDA TO ENGAGE CONSTRUCTIVELY WITH THE UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (“U.S. EPA”) AND STAKEHOLDERS IN AMENDMENTS TO FLORIDA’S CLEAN AIR ACT STATE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN; PROVIDING FOR COPIES OF THIS RESOLUTION TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE BROWARD CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION, THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE U.S. EPA, THE BROWARD LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION, THE SECRETARY OF THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, AND THE GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, southeast Florida is one of the areas of the United States most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially sea level rise; and
WHEREAS, the recently-released third National Climate Assessment thoroughly explains that, while some impacts of climate change are inevitable, sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the severity of the impacts and limit the rate of change; and
WHEREAS, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners (“Board”) has a history of leadership on climate change initiatives, including the adoption of a Countywide Climate Change Action Plan, participation as a founding member of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (“Compact”), and formal integration of climate change and sea level rise into County policy and planning; and
WHEREAS, Broward County has long acknowledged the linkage between global climate change, the sustainability of our environment, and our quality of life, and the importance of emissions reductions, energy conservation, and renewable energy goals as a part of national, state,and local strategies; and
WHEREAS, these commitments were first formalized with the County’s adoption of Resolution No. 2007-391, providing support for the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and committing to a seven percent (7%) reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2012; and
WHEREAS, subsequent commitments have included establishment of a regional emissions reduction goal of eighty-two percent (82%) below year 2010 levels by year 2050 in the Climate Element of the Broward County Comprehensive Plan, support for renewable energy development in the County’s Climate Change Action Plan and the
Compact’s Regional Climate Action Plan, and the goals established earlier this year by the Board to reduce energy use in County facilities by two and one-half percent (2.5%) per year, for a total of twenty percent (20%), by 2020, and to obtain twenty percent (20%) of the energy for County operations from renewable sources; and
WHEREAS, the Board has advocated for the adoption of a twenty percent (20%) renewable energy portfolio standard by the Florida Legislature and the establishment of meaningful energy conservation goals for electric utilities by the Florida Public Service Commission, neither of which has been realized; and
WHEREAS, Section 111 of the Clean Air Act empowers the U.S. EPA to regulate carbon pollution; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. EPA and the United States Department of Transportation finalized fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles in 2011, and automobiles and light-duty trucks in 2012, to reduce future carbon pollution from vehicles; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. EPA proposed limits on carbon pollution from new power plants in April 2012, issued a revised proposal in September 2013, and is expected to finalize the standard by January 2015; and
WHEREAS, on Sunday, June 1, 2014, President Barack Obama unveiled the U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan Rule to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants; and
WHEREAS, the proposed carbon pollution rules have been designed to provide states with flexibility in developing their own plans to meet the standards through the Clean Air Act’s state implementation plans; and
WHEREAS, the Natural Resources Defense Council has estimated that carbon pollution rules like those proposed by the U.S. EPA would produce $28 billion to $60 billion in health and environmental benefits, far more than the economic cost of the rules,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. The Board affirms its general support for the U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan Rule and regulation of carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Section 2. The Board directs the County Administrator to submit comments on the proposed rule to the U.S. EPA on behalf of Broward County.
Section 3. The Board urges the State of Florida to engage constructively with the U.S. EPA and a wide variety of stakeholders in amending Florida’s Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan to achieve the reductions in carbon pollution required by the federal rule.
Section 4. Copies of this Resolution shall be distributed to the Broward Congressional Delegation, the Administrator of the U.S. EPA, the Broward Legislative Delegation, the Governor of the State of Florida, and the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.