CRACKDOWN ON COAL POWER New Obama reg aims to cut emissions

6/2/14
 
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from FoxNews,
6/2/14:

The Obama administration took aim at the coal industry on Monday by mandating a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030 — despite claims the regulation will cost nearly a quarter-million jobs a year and force plants across the country to close.

The controversial regulation, which some lawmakers already are trying to block, is one of the most sweeping efforts to tackle global warming by this or any other administration.

The 645-page plan, expected to be finalized next year, is a centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change agenda, and a step that the administration hopes will get other countries to act when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year.

“We have a moral obligation to act,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, in announcing the plan Monday morning.

While the proposed regulation drew praise from environmental groups, the coal industry and coal-state lawmakers were immediately wary. Democratic West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall announced he would introduce legislation, along with Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., to stop the EPA plan.

“We will introduce bipartisan legislation that will prevent these disastrous new rules from wreaking havoc on our economy in West Virginia,” Rahall said in a statement.

Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said he’s “certain that it will be very bad news for states like Kentucky who mine and use coal to create electricity.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, called it a “dagger in the heart of the American middle class” — and predicted higher power costs and less reliable energy as a result. McConnell’s general election opponent, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, also spoke out against the plan.

The draft regulation sidesteps Congress, where Obama’s Democratic allies have failed to pass a so-called “cap-and-trade” plan to limit such emissions.

Under the plan, carbon emissions would be reduced 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The proposal sets off a complex regulatory process in which the 50 states will each determine how to meet customized targets set by the EPA.

States could have until 2017 to submit a plan to cut power plant pollution, and 2018 if they join with other states to tackle the problem, according to the EPA’s proposal.

EPA data shows that the nation’s power plants have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 13 percent since 2005. But with coal-fired power plants already beleaguered by cheap natural gas prices and other environmental regulations, experts said reaching the targets won’t be easy. The EPA is expected to offer a range of options to states to meet targets that will be based on where they get their electricity and how much carbon dioxide they emit in the process.

While some states will be allowed to emit more and others less, overall the reduction will be 30 percent nationwide.

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