United States to cut power plant pollution

US plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly a third in 15 years

Washington: The Obama administration unveiled a plan on Monday to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, in a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming. However, the regulation pushes the deadline for some states to comply until long after President Barack Obama leaves office in early 2017. That means even if the rules survive legal and other challenges, the dust won’t likely settle on this transformation until well into the next presidential administration, raising the possibility that political dynamics in either Congress or the White House could alter the rule’s course.

Under the plan, expected to be finalised next year, carbon emissions would be reduced 30 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. It is a centerpiece of Mr Obama’s plans to tackle climate change and aims to give the US more leverage to prod other countries to act when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year.

But the proposal sets off a complex regulatory process, steeped in politics, in which the 50 states will each determine how to meet customised targets set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The policy change, which will further diminish the role of coal in US electrical production, carries significant political and legal risks.

Although Mr Obama doesn’t need a vote in Congress to approve his plans, lawmakers in both the House and Senate have already vowed to try to block them including one Democratic lawmaker who faces a difficult re-election this year in coal-dependent West Virginia.

Scuttling the rules could be easier if Republicans, who already control the House, take the Senate in November and then the White House in 2016. Another potential flash point: The plan relies heavily on governors agreeing to develop plans to meet the federal standard. If Republican governors refuse to go along, the EPA can create its own plan for a state. But the specifics of how EPA could force a state to comply with that plan remain murky.

( Source : AP )
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