News / USA

Obama Administration Proposes Plan to Cut Power Plant Pollution

Obama Proposes Limits on Power Plant Pollutioni
X
June 02, 2014 10:42 PM
The Obama administration is proposing stronger regulations to limit climate-changing emissions from U.S. power plants. Supporters say they will help protect the nation's health and put the United States in a stronger leadership position to curb global warming. Opponents say the proposed rules will harm the economy. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Rosanne Skirble
The Obama administration is proposing stronger regulations to limit climate-changing emissions from U.S. power plants. 

The proposed pollution rules are designed to help protect the nation’s health and will put, but also put the United States in a stronger leadership position to curb global warming.

In his most recent address to the nation, President Barack Obama called the new rule critical. 

“Today about 40 percent of America’s carbon pollution comes from power plants," he said. "But right now there are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe.”
 
Obama Administration Proposes Plan to Cut Power Plant Pollution
Obama Administration Proposes Plan to Cut Power Plant Pollution i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

The new Clean Power Plan targets the nation’s more than 600 coal-fired power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said it is a moral obligation to act for the sake of public health. "When we do, we will turn climate risk into business opportunity, we will spur innovation and investment and we will be a world-leading clean energy economy.”

The plan would require a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. McCarthy says a flexible approach is built into how states comply. 

“Each state is different, so each goal and each path can be different," she said.

The proposal offers a broad array of actions, says Kevin Kennedy, who directs the U.S. Climate Initiative for the World Resources Institute.    

“The ability that she is talking about is the flexibility to look at the entire electricity system," Kennedy said. "So, that you can look at energy efficiency. You can look at renewables. You can look at switching fuels from coal to natural gas, making more use of existing natural gas plants that have been sitting relatively idle for the last decade.”

Coal plants supply nearly one-third the U.S. electric supply. The new rule could shut down plants, eliminate jobs and raise electric rates, says Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA official who represents the coal industry for the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. He says higher electric rates could also push industrial operations abroad.  

“To some extent we are seeing that happen already in Europe, where Europe has had almost no investment from heavy industry and heavy industries that formerly were in Europe are moving to China or India and in some cases even the United States because power prices here  today are significantly lower than they are in Europe,” Holmstead said.

He says the administration is wrong to put a regulation in place that critics say does little to solve the climate problem. He suggests investment in a technological fix would go further to address the issue.

“Until we can figure out a way that allows countries around the world to have the benefits we enjoy from reliable affordable power, without coal, it is not going to make any difference at all to impose expensive requirements in the United States,” Holmstead said.

Kennedy agrees that rules alone are not enough, but says the plan is an important signal to the global community that the United States is taking a leadership role in the battle against climate change. 

“That makes it much more likely that you will be able to get a strong international agreement next year, where you would expect to see China and India and other countries coming to the table more willing to think about reductions on their own, now that the United States is seriously acting," Kennedy said. 

After a year-long comment period, the EPA rules will be finalized. A legal challenge from the coal power industry is expected to follow.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 02, 2014 9:05 PM
I hope the U.S. would not repeat the action having left from Kyoto protocol. Natural gas looks promising as the resource of cleaner energy in the U.S..


by: Not Again from: Canada
June 02, 2014 8:40 PM
Gina McCarthy -----".....we will spur innovation and investment and we will be a world-leading clean energy economy..!" A total and absolute departure from reality, clearly showing a pipe dream.
Ms. McCarthy should study the big errors that were made in Ontario/Canada. Green energy has completly turned off Ontario'economy, billions were spend and solar + wind on a regular day, both, produce less than 2% of the total power needs of Ontario. The cost of power has tripled, industry can't afford the costs of power; the only thing that keeps solar and wind going are massive subsidies from Ontario's taxpayers, a province that has become a have not province, massive financial losses/debt.
The slightly better environmental picture, that some clain, was caused by the shutdown of many industries, followed by tremendous job losses.
At peak period Ontario citizens are paying in excess of 16+ cents per Kilowatt/hr.(cost of power + power delivery). Any environmental gains are also being offset by more and more people turning into burning wood/pellets/biomass fuels(grass/hay/etc), for many people heating costs have more than doubled.
Many EU countries are also scaling down, or getting completely out of the Wind and Solar financial subsidy disaster for consumers. Solar and wind, are not sustainable without heavy subsidies from taxpayers, it is a total bust.
At the current costs of consumer electricity, even electric cars look very unattractive. Small businesses, like restaurants, bakeries, stores with many coolers, etc can't afford the costs of heating/cooling and running production machinery due to the high costs of electricity.
Ms. McCarthy has not done her homework, her claims will not materialize, but just drive more good industrial jobs out of the US, and more people will be pushed into partime/minimum wage jobs.
The dire issues, with wind turbines, are low frequency noise that people complain about, and the issue that high wind zones are also, in some cases, migratory bird pathways, the large blades are a deadly obstacle for migratory birds that encounter them. McCarty should STUDY THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO GREEN ENERGY PROGRAM and the massive negative situation it creates for consumers and homeowners, before touting its higly questionable benefits, if any at all.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid