White House Consulted City Light on New Federal Carbon Pollution Standards

Photo of Jim Baggs

Seattle City Light Interim General Manager and CEO Jim Baggs

Seattle City Light Interim General Manager and CEO Jim Baggs was one of the experts the White House sought out while finalizing the newly released federal rules to control carbon emissions at power plants.

Baggs spoke by phone with Dan Utech, deputy assistant for energy and climate change to the U.S. president, on July 21.  Utech wanted to hear Baggs’ thoughts as the Obama administration prepared to issue the final rules on power plant carbon pollution standards under the Clean Air Act.

Baggs stressed the importance of sticking with a strong target date for emission goals, and of including hydro generation in calculations about carbon emissions.

After the Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants was released Monday, Baggs issued a statement describing about the impact that climate change is having on a hydroelectric-based utilities.

“Utilities such as Seattle City Light that depend on hydropower face loss of snow pack and glaciers as well as increased frequency and severity of floods on our rivers. Overall, the industry will face increased risk of fire, sea level rise, severe storms and landslides that threaten power lines.” Baggs said. “For these reasons, we urged the Obama administration to ensure that the final rule delivers meaningful emission reductions from existing power plants and encourages investment in clean energy technologies.

City Light previously filed detailed comments on the draft plan. Former General Manager Jorge Carrasco also participated in several meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency, including a private meeting with administrator Gina McCarthy last November.