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EPA to announce plan to cut power plant carbon by 30 percent

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration, on Monday, plans to cut earth-warming pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, as one of the significant actions made to address global warming in U.S. history.

The rule is expected to take effect next year, will set the first national limits on carbon dioxide
The rule is expected to take effect next year, will set the first national limits on carbon dioxide
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The rule is expected to take effect next year, will set the first national limits on carbon dioxide, the chief gas linked to global warming from the nation’s power plants. This is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S., about a third of the annual emissions that make the U.S. the second-largest contributor to global warming on the planet.

The focus of its regulation of President Barack Obama’s plans to reduce the pollution linked to global warming one step beyond that the administration hopes will get other countries to follow when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year.

“The purpose of this rule is to really close the loophole on carbon pollution, reduce emissions as we’ve done with lead, arsenic and mercury and improve the health of the American people and unleash a new economic opportunity,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has drafted a plan that informed the EPA proposal.

However, the rule carries significant political and legal risks, by further effect diminishing coal’s role in producing U.S. electricity and offering option for pollution reductions from the power plant that would give increased efficiency. Coal now supplies under 40 percent of the nation’s electricity while it has been replaced by booming supplies of natural gas and renewable sources such as wind and solar.

“Today’s proposal from the EPA could singlehandedly eliminate this competitive advantage by removing reliable and abundant sources of energy from our nation’s energy mix,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said in a statement issued.

The White House said Obama summoned a group of Democrats from both the House and Senate on Sunday to thank them for their support in advance of the rule’s official release. However, it is expected to be attacked by Republicans and make Democrats up for re-election in energy-producing states iffy.