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Unilever, Levi’s to EPA: Finalize Power Plant Rules

UnileverUnilever, Levi Strauss, Symantec and Patagonia are among the 22 companies that have signed a letter supporting the new carbon pollution standards for power plants proposed last week by the EPA.

The business group, along with some 50 investors — including the country’s largest public pension fund, CalPERS — with more than $900 billion of collective assets have urged the Obama Administration to finalize the rules soon. The standards are open to public comment.

Other companies that signed the letter, organized by Ceres, are: Acer, Akami Technologies, Annie’s Homegrown, Ben & Jerry’s, Dignity Health, Eastern Bank, K2 Sports, L’Oreal, Method, New Belgium Brewing, Portland Trail Blazers, Saunders Hotel Group, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farm, The North Face, Timberland and United Natural Foods.

All of the companies that signed the letter are also signatories of Ceres’ Climate Declaration, which calls on policymakers to address climate change as an economic opportunity.

Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier is among the investors to support the power plant regulations. Over the next 20 years, climate change could put trillions of dollars worth of investments at risk, Nappier says, adding that “numerous studies” show substantial investment opportunity in climate change solutions. Improving the energy efficiency of US office buildings alone could translate into about $300 billion in investments that could save a trillion in energy costs, Nappier says.

Among the other investors supporting the standards are the New York City Comptroller’s Office, F&C Investment, the Maryland State Treasurer, Calvert Asset Management, Domini and Boston Common Asset Management.

The coal industry, on the other hand, has attacked the power plant rules with National Mining Association president and CEO Hal Quinn calling them risky and saying they will lead to higher utility bills and “significant” job loses.

Coal plants will have to use carbon capture to comply with the new standard of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per MWh.

US-based Arch Coal, one of the world’s top coal producers, says near-zero-emission coal plants will be achievable in time — but that technology is not available today.

“The Administration’s proposal goes way too far, way too fast, and threatens to arrest rather than spur technology advances,” says Deck S. Slone, Arch Coal senior vice president of strategy and public policy.


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