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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora