(INDIANAPOLIS) - Coal-dependent Indiana has to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2030 under new requirements outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Indiana has three years to come up with a plan to achieve the reductions, which were announced Monday by the EPA.
But some experts say the state government and energy industry have already taken steps toward that goal, such as switching old coal-fired power plants to cleaner natural gas.
Doug Gotham of the Purdue-based State Utility Forecasting Group says moves like that will help Indiana move in the right direction to meet the 2030 goals.
Jodi Perras of the Indiana Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign says most Indiana power plants are aging and need to be replaced.
EPA says Indiana gets 80 percent of its electricity from coal.
Gov. Pence statement
Indiana Governor Mike Pence released the following statement about the requirements Monday morning:
"Once again, the Obama Administration is advancing its anti-coal agenda without regard for the impact on the U.S. economy or American workers.
"As a state that relies heavily on coal-burning power plants, these proposed regulations will be devastating for Hoosier workers and families. They will cost us in higher electricity rates, in lost jobs, and in lost business growth due to a lack of affordable, reliable electricity. Indiana will oppose these regulations using every means available.
"The proposal makes good on then presidential candidate Obama's statements in 2008 that under his plan electricity prices would 'necessarily skyrocket,' and that anyone who built a coal-fired electricity power plant would be bankrupted.
"The president and Democrats in Congress tried to force these rules through in 2009 with their cap and trade scheme. I opposed them then, and I oppose them now.
"The president's plan today will dramatically raise electricity rates in a way that will be passed onto consumers in the form of higher bills. A typical household could lose $3,400 in disposable income. That will hit our lower-income and younger workers the hardest, hurting those who are trying their best to get ahead.
"In Indiana we produce more than 80 percent of our electricity from coal, and more than 3,500 hard-working Hoosiers are employed in the coal industry. We are a manufacturing state that is competitive in part based on our low cost of energy. Raising the cost of electricity through these proposed EPA regulations will slow manufacturing and hurt Hoosiers across our economy.
"I believe that our nation is best served by a true all of the above energy strategy that incorporates all forms of energy. We need our wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas, and coal resources to power our economy and provide the quality of life Hoosiers and other Americans expect.
"My administration is working on a new energy plan now, including updated energy efficiency measures that will go before the General Assembly next year. I believe that we can find a better way to protect not only the health of our environment, but also the health of our economy and our position in the global marketplace. The president's proposal does not strike that balance, and I will oppose it while at the same time seeking to find common-sense solutions that promote job creation and economic growth and protect Hoosier rate-payers and employees."
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