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Environment


Ohio reacts to new EPA standards for new power plants
Enviromentalists say its a major advancement for health; opponents say its unreliable and will hurt the economy
by WKSU's ANDY CHOW


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Andy Chow
 
Courtesy of Creative Commons, Some rights reserved by ossguy
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In The Region:

Ohio groups are reacting to President Obama’s call for reduced carbon emissions from new power plants. Environmental advocates are calling it a major strike in the battle against climate change, while others in the energy industry believe the standards will hurt the state’s economy.

LISTEN: Andy Chow reports on carbon emission standards

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Tackling climate change was one of the main issues addressed in PresidentObama’s inaugural speech in January. Now his administration seems to be fulfilling that promise, announcing major carbon emission standards for new power plants.

Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, told the National Press Club Friday that climate change damages water, air and public health. To the Obama administration, cutting off emissions at power plants would be a huge step.

“Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution," McCarthy says. "New power plants — both natural gas and coal fired can minimize their carbon emissions by taking advantage of available modern technology. These technologies offer them a clear pathway forward today and in the long-term.”

War on coal?
Zane Daniels, president of the Ohio Coal Association, says the EPA has set unacheivable standards. He insists the technology McCarthy is referring to is unproven, cost prohibitive, and not even commercially available.

“We have serious concerns about the impact these rules will have on grid reliability and electricity prices across the country," Daniels says. "To make it essentially illegal to burn coal and take that much generation off the grid can have potentially devastating consequences.”

Daniels says companies have already made great strides by advancing clean coal technology.

Health and environment
On the other side of the issue were environmental groups around the state that united to commend the new standards. Tracy Sabetta, spokeswoman for the National Wildlife Federation, says these measures will enhance and protect the environment for future generations.

“This is a pretty historic measure taken by the president and the U.S. EPA," Sabetta says. "Carbon pollution has been proven to contribute up to 40 percent of the pollution that causes climate change.”

The EPA administrator also announced that the agency is beginning discussions to implement carbon emission standards for existing power plants.

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