Thursday, December 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Obama orders pollution cuts – but timing uncertain

By
June 04, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — Taking aim at global warming, President Barack Obama introduced a politically charged plan Monday to order big and lasting cuts in the pollution discharged by America’s power plants. But the plan, though ambitious in scope, wouldn’t be fully realized until long after Obama’s successor took office and would generate only modest progress worldwide.

Obama’s proposal to force a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions, by the year 2030 from 2005 levels, drew immediate scorn from Republicans, industry groups and even a few Democrats who are facing fraught re-election campaigns in energy-dependent states. Environmental activists were split, with some hailing the plan and others calling it insufficiently strict to prevent the worst effects of global warming.

The effort would cost up to $8.8 billion annually in 2030, the EPA projected. But the actual price is impossible to predict until states decide how to reach their targets – a process that will take years.

Obama, in a conference call with public health leaders, sought to head off critics who have argued the plan will kill jobs, drive up power bills and crush the economy in regions of the U.S.

“What we’ve seen every time is that these claims are debunked when you actually give workers and businesses the tools and the incentives they need to innovate,” Obama said.

Never before has the U.S. sought to restrict carbon dioxide from existing power plants, although Obama’s administration is also pursuing the first limits on newly built plants. While the plan would push the nation closer to achieving Obama’s pledge to reduce total U.S. emissions by 17 percent by 2020, it still would fall short of the global reductions scientists say are needed to stabilize the planet’s temperature.

Connie Hedegard, the European Union’s commissioner for climate change, called the rule “the strongest action ever taken by the U.S. government to fight climate change.” But she also said, “All countries, including the United States, must do even more than what this reduction trajectory indicates.”

Fossil-fueled U.S. power plants account for 6 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, so even a steep domestic cut affects just a portion worldwide. And even with the new limits, coal plants that churn out carbon dioxide will still provide about 30 percent of U.S. energy, according to predictions by the Environmental Protection Agency, down from about 40 percent today.

Power plants are America’s largest source of greenhouse gases, accounting for 38 percent of annual emissions. Plants have already reduced carbon emissions nearly 13 percent since 2005, meaning they are about halfway to meeting the administration’s goal.

The 645-page proposal forms the linchpin of Obama’s campaign to deal with climate change, and aims to give the U.S. leverage to prod other countries to act when climate negotiations resume in Paris next year.

At home, however, the power plant limits won’t cut as big a chunk out of greenhouse gas emissions as Obama’s move to tackle pollution from cars and trucks. That separate effort is to double fuel economy for vehicles made in model years 2012-25.

And the drawn-out timeline for the power plant plan, coupled with threats by opponents to block it, infused Monday’s announcement with uncertainty.

“I know people are wondering: Can we cut pollution while keeping our energy affordable and reliable? We can, and we will,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Relying on the four-decades-old Clean Air Act, the EPA is giving customized targets to each state, then leaving it up to those states to develop plans to meet their targets. Some states will be allowed to emit more and others less, leading to an overall, nationwide reduction of 30 percent.

West Virginia, for example, must reduce the pollution it puts out per unit of power by 19 percent compared to 2012. Ohio’s target is a 28 percent reduction, while Kentucky will have to find a way to make an 18 percent cut.

On the other extreme, New York has a targeted reduction of 44 percent. But New York already has joined with other Northeast states to curb carbon dioxide from power plants, meaning it’s further along than many other states. The EPA said states like New York should not be punished for being proactive.

Although Obama initially wanted each state to submit its plan by June 2016, the draft proposal shows states could get extensions until 2017. If they join with other states, as New York has done, they could have until 2018, kicking full implementation of the rules well into the next president’s administration.

That raises the possibility that shifting political dynamics in Washington could alter the rule’s course. Although Obama could veto action by Congress to block the rule, he can’t ensure that his successor will do the same. Scuttling the rules would also be easier if Republicans take the Senate in November.

A few Democrats joined a chorus of Republicans in vowing to obstruct the rules legislatively. Rep. Nick Rahall, a vulnerable West Virginia Democrat, said he would not only back legislation but also join lawsuits. Republican House Speaker John Boehner simply called Obama’s plan “nuts.”

“The excessive rule is an illegal use of executive power, and I will force a vote to repeal it,” said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Another potential hitch: governors who refuse to cooperate. If a state declines to develop a plan, the EPA can create one itself. But how EPA could force a state to comply with that plan remains murky.

The administration said the nearly $9 billion price tag will be offset numerous times over by health savings from reductions in other pollutants like soot and smog that will accompany a shift away from dirtier fuels.

To meet their targets, states could make power plants more efficient, reduce the frequency at which coal-fired power plants supply power to the grid, and invest in more renewable, low-carbon energy sources.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • patrickJune 03, 2014 - 11:24 am

    another well thought out plan----much like Obama care. hang on everybody.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalJune 03, 2014 - 6:50 pm

    There are already more than 4,000 new regulations in the federal pipeline. All non-urgent new regulation should be suspended until we're fully recovered from this recession. Some current regulation should be eased. A complete overhaul of EPA would be a good place to start.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 03, 2014 - 8:21 pm

    Mr. Practical, I agree and let's not forget to toss CARB into the mix!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

     
    Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

     
    Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    .

    US / World

    US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

    Freed American endured years of declining health

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

    Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    .

    Opinion

     
    Crime Witness Protocol 101

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

    Asia needs to prepare for a possible China crash

    By William Pesek | From Page: A7

     
    Editorial Cartoons: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    My siblings don’t want to replace abusive mother’s pacemaker

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Sports

    For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    .

    Business

    Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9