Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Obama Details Climate Plan, Seeks Major Carbon Emission Cut

President Barack Obama Tuesday outlined a series of executive-level steps that he said strive to minimize the release of carbon emissions and enhance the diversity of energy sources across the country.  The president's announcement, which focuses on minimizing climate change, drew support from Ohio-based environmentalists and opposition from GOP members of the state's congressional delegation.  While the White House said no single step can reverse climate change, officials have "a moral obligation" to take action to improve conditions for future generations. Among other things, the plan establishes new rules to cut carbon pollution by directing the U.S. EPA to work with states, industry and others to create carbon standards for new and existing power plants.

The plan also:
Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantees available to support fossil energy and efficiency projects; Directs the U.S. Department of Interior to permit enough renewable projects to provide power for 6 million homes by 2020; Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons by 2030.
The administration also said it will push for similar agreements with China, India and other major emitters.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said in a statement the "overreach" has already cost Ohio jobs.  "At least eight coal fired power plants in Ohio are set to close due in large part to regulatory mandates put in place by the EPA," he said in a statement. "As a result, nearly a thousand Ohio jobs will be directly impacted, local communities will lose millions in tax revenue, and more than 6,000 megawatts - enough energy to power thousands of homes - will be taken off the grid."  "America does not need another top-down climate mandate by its Federal government; instead it needs a low-cost energy plan that ensures we have access to reliable, affordable and cleaner domestic energy," he said.  Reach Senator Portman here:

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson said he was "deeply troubled" by the announcement that he said escalates a "war on coal."  "These new regulations will put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk and cripple businesses across the United States that rely on affordable and dependable coal-provided energy. In my district alone, we have six coal-fired power plants that are now in jeopardy," he said. "The President is, once again, stifling free-markets and meddling with our economy.  "While I certainly agree that we should embrace alternative energies, they cannot be the only sources we rely on to power our economy," Mr. Johnson added.  Reach Congressman Johnson here:

Conversely, Brian Kaiser, director of green jobs and innovation at the Ohio Environmental Council welcomed the announcement.   "The time for talk has passed, it's time for action," he said. "President Obama's plan is a responsible and significant step towards a healthier planet and a stronger economy."  A coalition of Ohio environmental groups, including National Wildlife Federation in Ohio, Sierra Club in Ohio and Audubon Ohio, offered support.  "We applaud President Obama for laying out a broad and common-sense plan for meeting our obligation to protect future generations from climate change," the groups said. "Americans are feeling the impacts of climate change already from destructive and deadly storms like Hurricane Sandy, to droughts and wildfires. President Obama's decision to take action to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants for the first time ever is particularly important since power plants are the largest unlimited source of carbon pollution and cleaning them up is key to protecting Americans from the impacts of climate change."

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