Monday, June 02, 2014

Obama EPA seeks to cut CO2 emissions 30% by 2030; coal industry, coal-dependent states complain

States that rely heavily on coal-fired plants will be hit hardest by proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules, proposed Monday, that seek "a 30 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005," Amy Harder reports for The Wall Street Journal.

"The rule, scheduled to be completed one year from now, will give flexibility to the states, which must implement the rules and submit compliance plans to EPA by June 2016," Harder writes. "States can decide how to meet the reductions, including joining or creating new cap-and-trade programs, deploying more renewable energy or ramping up energy-efficiency technologies. Each state will have different percent reduction standards, and the national average will be 25 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030."

As both sides spar -- between the push for cleaner energy to help curb climate change versus the "war on coal" and the loss of jobs -- many theories are being thrown around about climate change and global warming, whether they exist, and if so, how much is caused by human activity. Background articles can be found on the EPA website, at the Explaining Climate Change, the World Wildlife Fund and Skeptical Science sites, and in a Climate Change 101 tutorial with Bill Nye published by Smithsonian magazine. Other links to studies are here, here and here.

The plan could be bad news for some coal states, and not just because they mine the black rock. In West Virginia and Kentucky, respectively, 96 percent and 92 percent of electricity comes from coal. "In arguing against EPA action on carbon dioxide emissions, coal backers complain that the technology isn’t ready yet—and that the federal government needs to do more to support research and development of it," Ken Ward reports for The Charleston Gazette. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) said on the House floor, “It will be very bad for jobs. The only real question is where, on a scale from devastating to a death blow, the new rule will fall.” (Read more)

“The administration for all intents and purposes is creating America’s next energy crisis,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “The administration chose political expediency over practical reality as it unveiled energy standards devoid of commonsense and flexibility.”

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