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Ohio Bill Would Give Coal-Fired Power Plants Leeway in Meeting New EPA Rules

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 9:44 AM

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ideastream file photo by Brian Bull

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a major overhaul to energy policies, in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percnt by 2030. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports on what this means for the big business of coal in Ohio.

States around the country are now working on plans to comply with recently announced carbon emission standards brought forth by the Obama Administration. The federal EPA says power plants must cut their emissions by 30 percent based off of 2005 levels by the year 2030.

A bipartisan bill in the Ohio House asks the state EPA to come up with a strategy to meet these guidelines from the Obama administration while providing flexibility for coal-fired power plants.

Republican State Rep. Andy Thompson said his district around Marietta delivers about 70 percent of the total amount of coal mined in Ohio. Thompson said the state can greatly benefit from the energy source, which he said is cost effective.

“Why would we eliminate that as part of our portfolio?” Thompson said. “Let’s continue to look for ways to make it cleaner, but let’s not just discard it. And when you set regulations that can’t be met, when you set regulations that existing technology can’t address, then you’re really zeroing it out.”

Thompson’s bill is co-sponsored by Democratic State Rep. Jack Cera, who also represents a coal-rich district in eastern Ohio. It passed unanimously out of committee.

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