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Pro/Con: Is EPA proposal to cut energy emissions right move?

By Sara Sneath
June 8, 2014 at 1:08 a.m.
Updated June 9, 2014 at 1:09 a.m.

Recent proposals by the Obama administration to cut carbon dioxide emissions from greenhouse gas producers by 30 percent by 2030 have left uncertainties for older area coal-fired plants such as Fannin's Coleto Creek plant, which was commissioned in 1980.

The Obama administration announced last week its plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

Some have called the proposal to slash energy emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 a targeted attack on the coal industry. Others see the move as long overdue regulation on the industry that emits the largest share of carbon dioxide, which harms human health and the environment.

Coal has been steadily displaced by natural gas for the past decade. Although coal accounted for 51 percent of electricity generation in the United States as recently as 2003, its share declined to 37 percent in 2012. Much of the drop in coal production is a result of extremely low natural gas prices, making natural gas plants less expensive to operate than coal-fired plants in many U.S. regions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Will the cost to the coal industry and consumers outweigh the health and environmental benefits, or will the rule lead to innovation and provide a timeline for a needed change in where we get our energy?

Pro: Proposal will be worth cost to consumers

Con: Cost not worth benefit, doesn't allow enough flexibility for states

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