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Stakeholders Anxiously Await Pollution Rules

Linda Hardesty

energy manageOn June 2, President Obama will announce new EPA guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector under the Clean Air Act. The president has said he will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent, according to The New York Times.

In his first term, Obama promoted a cap-and-trade bill in Congress, which would have created markets for government-issued pollution permits. But the bill was defeated by opponents who said it would raise energy prices.

The president has taken a different tack now. Next week’s announcement will be the first time EPA moves forward with a regulatory process under the Clean Air Act for regulating future and existing power plants’ CO2 emissions.

According to NY Times’ sources, the rule will set a national limit on carbon pollution from coal plants, but states will be able to select different options to curb emissions. Cap-and-trade programs are likely to be one of many options. The NY Times says some states are already examining the existing state-level cap-and-trade plans: A regional plan of nine Northeastern states and California.

In a poll conducted by Zogby Analytics, commissioned by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), 58 percent of Americans said that modernizing the electric power system by scaling back the use of old power plants and adding more low-emission natural gas power generation and wind, solar, and hydropower is a good idea even if it costs more money.

However, a group of business stakeholders – The Partnership for a Better Energy Future – says it wants to ensure the administration’s greenhouse gas regulatory actions do not harm American jobs and the economy.

Photo: Coal power plant via Shutterstock



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