Under the rule, states will be given a wide menu of policy options to achieve the pollution cuts. Rather than immediately shutting down coal plants, states would be allowed to reduce emissions by making changes across their electricity systems — by installing new wind and solar generation or energy-efficiency technology, and by starting or joining state and regional “cap and trade” programs, in which states agree to cap carbon pollution and buy and sell permits to pollute.
In 2013, Arkansas power plants released nearly 41 million metric tons of carbon pollution—with nearly 85 percent of that coming from just five dirty coal-fired power plants. Three of these older plants (Entergy’s White Bluff and Independence Plants, and SWEPCO’s Flint Creek plant) were constructed in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“Sierra Club fully supports the plan to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants,” said Glen Hooks, Chapter Director for the Arkansas Sierra Club. “Reducing carbon pollution is good for both our environmental and public health, plus it will create thousands of clean energy and energy efficiency-related jobs right here in Arkansas. We look forward to working closely with utilities and regulators to help clean up Arkansas’s carbon emissions."
I have serious concerns that the EPA’s proposal will undermine the affordable and reliable electricity Arkansans currently enjoy. I will continue to speak with Arkansas stakeholders to gauge how this rule could impact our state’s economy and jobs.
Last week, I asked the EPA to extend the comment period once this proposal was released. I’m pleased this request was granted, and I would urge consumers, businesses and utilities to make their concerns heard.
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