WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is pushing ahead with tough requirements to limit carbon pollution from new power plants -- despite protests from industry and from Republicans that it would dim the future of coal.
The proposal would set the first national limits on heat-trapping pollution from future power plants. It's intended to help move America from coal dependence into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy. It's also a key step in President Barack Obama's global warming plans, because it would be a step toward ending what he calls "the limitless dumping of carbon pollution" from all power plants.
But the government's own analysis of the new power plant proposal concludes it would have only a slight effect on carbon dioxide emissions -- and that it would pose little or no costs for the industry, while also providing no additional benefits to the public by the year 2022. That's because it essentially locks in place what was widely expected to happen anyway. Even without new federal regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that no new coal plants would have been built -- and that the bulk of new power in this country would be supplied by natural gas.
Still, the coal industry and its allies in Congress are warning that the plan will hurt the economy. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia says jobs will be lost and electricity prices will soar. He says the EPA is holding the industry to "impossible standards."