EPA Proposes Coal Guidelies - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

EPA Proposes Coal Guidelies

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BILLINGS -

The Environmental Protection Agency is recommending new limitations for the amount of carbon pollution coming from new power plants. While the proposal does not directly affect Montanans, and it is in fact less severe than current state regulations, some are concerned it's the first step to a war on coal.

There's little gray area in the gray smoke. People look at a power plant and either sees jobs or pollution. Environmentalists say they are looking forward to the future of cleaner-energy jobs. "The Northern Plains Resource Council applauds the Obama Administration's recent actions to limit pollution from new coal-fired power plants, and we're looking to limit existing plants in the near future," past Northern Plains Resource Chairman; Ed Gulick said.

Colstrip Mayor, Rose Hanser, said the proposal doesn't make sense. "It's more than frustrating. It's kind of scary. When you look at the premise our nation was built on, and you turn around and look and say, 'wow, we now have a government that's attempting to kill jobs, industries, cripple men and women's ability to provide for their family, and also cut the amount of energy we have available on a daily basis," Hanser said.

Gulick said the new proposal is a win-win for Montanans, because it will create new jobs and cleaner energy. "We think the science is very well established, and indicates we need to be reducing our carbon pollution very dramatically. If we ignore it then we are peril. So, we're very happy to see it happening," Gulick said.

"This is really unusual that they're going to such extreme lengths to try and limit these emissions that are pretty normal," Mayor Hanser said.

State Representative, Duane Ankney, said the EPA's proposal is the warning sign to a war on coal. "It's extremely upsetting to me, that an agency is coming up with legislation. How in the world do we allow an agency to have so much power that they can legislate laws and rules without going through congress to pass it," Ankney said.

Ankney said if the EPA imposes stricter guidelines on existing plants, like the one in Colstrip, all Montanans would be affected. "You can't hardly touch a dollar in the state treasury without getting a little coal dust on your hands," Ankney said.

Environmentalists said coal can still be mined, but carbon emissions need to be reduced. Stricter guidelines on existing power plants are expected to be proposed by next June.

According to the Director of Environmental Quality, Tracy Stone-Manning, a balance between clean energy and a vibrant economy is the main goal for regulators. Stone-Manning said the state is directly opposed to any recommendation that would kill jobs.

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