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EPA Aims to Lower Coal Plant Carbon Emissions

S Bence

Greenhouse gas emitted from coal-burning plants come under fire in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan

It would reduce carbon emissions countrywide by 30 percent by the year 2030.

President Barack Obama set the stage for the move when he issued his Climate Action Plan in June 2013.

EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman says states can meet the Clean Power Plan target in different ways, “they can choose to run their coal plants less, they can increase renewable electricity production; they can invest in energy efficiency. Whatever the state thinks is best for the residents of the state.”

Hedman says a fifteen-year window will allow states to develop and implement their strategies. States can also team up to reach goals jointly.

Governor Scott Walker weighed in.

The draft plan calls on Wisconsin to reduce emissions by 34 percent of its 2012 emission levels.

In a letter to the EPA Gov Walker warned the rule would negatively impact both Wisconsin’s manufacturing-based economy and household ratepayers.

“If enacted, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would be a blow to Wisconsin residents and business owners, and I join business leaders, elected officials, and industry representatives in opposing this plan. I urge federal officials to carefully consider our concerns and the adverse economic impact this plan could have on our state, as well as the nation.”

Credit S Bence
Susan Hedman explains the nuances of the Clean Power Plan.

  EPA administrator Susan Hedman says all comments will be reviewed, but adds, the Clean Power Plan does contain options that will reduce consumers electric bills, “ those options rely heavily on energy efficiency.”

She counters the argument that the plan will hurt local economies, “It’s a fact that energy efficiency and investment in renewal energy can create jobs, and states that invest in those kinds of options will be helping their own economies.”

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to issue the finalized Clean Power Plan in June 2015.

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.