Citizens’ mood is changing

David Newton, Auburn, Ala.

Reference your editorial of June 11, 2014, titled “Americans Lose in the War on Coal,” which was published on June 23 in the Opelika-Auburn [Alabama] News.

As you must know, the Clean Air Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the president. It was originally enacted and then signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970, and amended in 1977 and 1990. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the authority, under the Clean Air Act, to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Therefore, curbs on carbon dioxide emissions are, in effect, mandated.

Recently, the Charleston Daily Mail (in West Virginia) published an editorial concerning support for regulation of power-plant emissions which was surprising given that the Daily Mail is in a major coal producing region. Also, The Houston Chronicle a newspaper in an oil and gas state editorially supported the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. Last week, in testimony before a U.S. Senate Sub-committee, four former Republican heads of the EPA, supported such regulations. In addition, on June 21, in The New York Times, former Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, a Republican, called for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

Earlier this month, in a nationwide poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post, 70 percent of the respondents reported “the federal government should limit the release of greenhouse gases from existing power plants in an effort to reduce global warming.”

These developments suggest that nationally the mood of citizens is changing in response to events in their lives and research reports by climate scientists worldwide.

In this election year, voters should ask candidates at all levels to reveal their positions and proposed actions on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and of global warming.