States Press Obama for Tough, Flexible Climate Rules

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 01:50 PM

 

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Fifteen states that have taken steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are seeking assurances that their efforts will be recognized when the U.S. Environmental Protection agency issues new rules governing pollution from power plants.

In a petition delivered to the EPA today, officials from states including New York, California and Colorado say they want to make sure the agency recognizes their efforts as it crafts the federal rules, set to be released in June.

“Our states are already achieving significant carbon pollution reductions from the power sector, and are demonstrating a variety of ways in which such reductions can be achieved,” officials from the states said today in the letter. “We encourage EPA to develop a stringent but flexible framework that equitably achieves meaningful reductions in carbon.”

Carbon-dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution have led to a warming of the Earth’s temperature in the past 50 years, worsening forest fires, drought and coastal flooding, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

President Barack Obama directed the EPA to cap carbon dioxide from power plants, which account for 40 percent of U.S. emissions, as part of the effort to reach his goal of cutting overall greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. The first step was to issue rules for new plants, which were issued in September. More contentious rules for existing plants are scheduled to be announced in 2014.

Cuts Achieved

In their filing today, the 15 states said that by 2011, they had cut emissions 20 percent from 2005 levels.

“Our state programs are delivering major economic and health benefits by reducing carbon pollution and traditional pollutants while driving investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy,” the letter said.

The states called on the EPA to issue a cap that would cut power-plant emissions by more than 17 percent, because finding reductions elsewhere “will be more difficult to achieve.” The EPA should then give states “flexibility” to achieve that reduction and minimize cost and burden, the filing said.

The other states that filed the petition are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. combination of cuts in supply and demand to meet it.


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