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Begich Statement on New Proposed EPA Rule

U.S. Senator Mark Begich released the following statement today in response to an announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for cutting carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gas pollution from existing fossil fuel electricity generating plants by 30 percent by 2030.

“It is no secret that I have long been skeptical of this Administration and their understanding of Alaska’s unique needs when it comes to energy policy and this will be no different,” said Begich. “Today’s announcement from the Administration is the first step in a long process that I will be closely monitoring to determine any impact on Alaska – especially for consumers. Alaska is ground zero for climate change and there are common sense approaches to dealing with that reality, but we must protect consumers along the way.”

The draft rule regulates greenhouse gas pollution at the state level and establishes a target reduction for each state while providing states with flexibility on how to meet that goal. States will have broad options in reaching the reduction target, including making existing power plants more efficient, adding more efficient fossil fuel power plants or renewable energy plants to the grid or through demand-side or consumer energy conservation programs.

“From the initial review of materials released today, this rule exempts all of rural Alaska, but could impact a handful of Railbelt power plants,” said Begich. “My office has already asked the EPA for additional information and I will work closely with both the EPA and the State of Alaska to ensure that any final rule is flexible and protects Alaska businesses and families.”

The draft proposal will now be subjected to a 120-day public comment period and will not be finalized until at least June 2015. After that, states – who are given wide-ranging flexibility in developing and implementing their own individual plan to meet the rule – will be have up to three years to present a implementation plan with actual compliance deadlines to follow after that.

More information can be found about the proposed rule here:  http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/clean-power-plan-proposed-rule

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