Appalachia not forgotten in EPA rules

A Gazette editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Environmental Protection Agency released new rules this week to reduce power plant emissions that contribute to climate change. The usual suspects reacted with what Sen. Robert C. Byrd might have called shaking their fist at the future.

But it’s not even the future anymore. It’s the present, in more ways than one.

First, climate change is here.

“We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and we’re the last generation that can do something about it,” President Obama said Monday in announcing these rules and a huge investment in coalfield communities that are most affected by the changing economy.

The rules themselves are hundreds of pages, and opponents have promised to challenge them. The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power generation by 32 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Such a reduction would set an example for other nations and help curb the long-term effects of climate change. Such a CO² reduction is also expected to prevent premature deaths and asthma attacks.

Second, critics like to say such a plan to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change is some misguided or unfair effort to reconfigure the energy industry.

However, the energy industry has already reconfigured itself…

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