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Carbon emission rules more flexible than critics claim: EPA regional administrator


States have until 2030 to get their carbon emissions down to 32-percent below 2005 levels, under guidelines laid out in the Clean Power Planannounced by President Obama earlier this week.

The regulations have drawn cheers from environmentalists but there’s also plenty of criticism. But Northeast Regional Director, Judith Enck ,says the rules aren’t as draconian as opponents claim.

“It’s also flexible, it’s also very focused on ensuring reliability the lights are not going to go out because of this regulation, it’s also affordable. It will cost some money to comply in the beginning, but by the time we’re in full compliance mode in 2030, household electricity bills will actually be reduced by about 7-dollars per month.”

The regulations also vary from state to state. Some states that rely heavily on coal for energy will have to make even larger reductions in their emissions. Enck says other states, including New York, are in a stronger position.

“New York was ahead of the curve then they adopted the regional greenhouse gas initiative and I think that’s going to be a possibility for other states. But there’s no question, if you were an early adopter of carbon reduction policies, you have a head start here.”

She says the new regulations are not an attack on the coal industry. They simply give states a goal and it’s up to them how they meet them.

“If you’ve got a particular power plant, that’s emitting a lot of air pollutants, carbon in particular, they can continue to pollute but they have to buy allowances that reduces carbon at other places.”

That means counties may also need to look at reducing the footprint of the other major source of carbon pollution, transportation.

States have until September of 2016 to come up with a plan or the EPA will come up with one for them.

Besides being environmentally-friendly, Enck also says the Clean Power Plant also has health benefits by driving down smog pollution and limiting the public to the risks of heart disease and asthma.

new-york Clean Power Plan Fact Sheet

Jenna first knew she was destined for a career in journalism after following the weekly reports of the Muppet News Flash as a child. In high school she wrote for her student newspaper and attended a journalism camp at SUNY New Paltz, her Hudson Valley hometown. Jenna then went on to study communications and journalism at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ where she earned her Bachelor of Arts.
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