Opinion

Carbon rules could do irreparable harm

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency dropped its low-carbon emissions bomb Monday, generating the expected blast of opposition.

The Clean Power Plan, which is scheduled to be in place by 2030, requires states to formulate plans to reach a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels.

Plans to make that happen must be complete by June 30, 2016, with one-year extensions available.

We knew it was coming, we dreaded what we would hear. And as we expected, it wasn’t pretty.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy tried to tie a big bow around it, saying, “Coal and natural gas play a significant role. This plan does not change that.”

Except that it does.

States will have the “option” to switch to energy sources that have little to no carbon emissions including nuclear, wind and solar power.

And no doubt, that is what will happen because the expense of putting the existing emissions-reducing technology in place will be cost-prohibitive for many utilities.

The new guidelines will “spur innovation,” McCarthy adds. Perhaps. Probably likely. But from where will the funds come to pay for those innovations? Increases in utility bills?

The old coal industry slogan proclaimed “Coal is West Virginia!” Yes, and it also is Wyoming. Kentucky. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Illinois. The list goes on…

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