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News roundup: Newspapers editorialize in favor of proposed limit on carbon pollution

News roundup: Newspapers editorialize in favor of proposed limit on carbon pollution

The weekend has come and gone, and news on the EPA’s proposed cuts to U.S. carbon pollution continues to make headlines, attracting no shortage of favorable editorials in support of the proposed rule from major papers across the country.

Crain’s Cleveland Business points out that states that have developed the most wind power have seen their rates drop, advocating for more clean energy in the Buckeye State:

  • …[H]aving federal EPA regulations is better than Ohio having its own rules. Without such federal regulations, states are forced into a race to see who can cut their energy standards the most. With federal rules, Ohio won't have to go it alone while other states use their own lack of regulations to compete with us.
  • …We are still a coal-producing state, and coal is likely to lose out under the EPA's new rules. On the other hand, we are now both a natural gas producer and a state with significant wind and solar energy manufacturing. All three of those energy sources stand to gain under the new rules.
  • The EPA says costs will initially rise slightly and then fall lower than they are today. Only time may tell who is right, but states that have developed the most wind power in recent years have been among the only ones to see their electric rates drop.

The Detroit Free Press called the proposed rules a “down payment on a viable planet,” celebrating the success of the Michigan RPS and encouraging state leaders to embrace the newly proposed rules:

  • From time to time in our nation’s history, the generation in charge of the U.S. government has been called upon to sacrifice its own short-term convenience for the enduring benefit of future Americans. That’s the challenge President Barack Obama sought to meet this week when his administration unveiled guidelines designed to reduce the release of greenhouse gases by 30% from 2005 levels. It’s a sensible, long overdue initiative that anyone interested in the next generation’s health and welfare should welcome.
  • Some may choose to join the growing community of states that have set up cap-and-trade systems in which producers buy and sell carbon credits; others may rely more heavily on natural gas, nuclear power or renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. But the burden will fall especially on the nation’s 550 coal-fired plants, many of which will have to cease operations or invest heavily in emission-reducing improvements.
  • While candidates in energy-producing states may derive short-term political benefit from demonizing the EPA standards, Gov. Rick Snyder and state lawmakers should focus their attention on meeting the new emissions standards, not finding ways to circumvent them.
  • …Meeting the EPA’s aggressive but achievable anti-pollution targets, and securing their dividends for generations of Michiganders to come, seems like the least the state’s incumbent leaders can do.

The Philadelphia Inquirer called the rules a “historic move” and took advantage of the moment to encourage increased wind energy development in the Northeast.

  • Wisely, the administration is leaving many of the details up to the states. They will have to design their own programs to reduce carbon pollution, giving them flexibility to meet regional needs. Their plans are due in 2016, which gives them plenty of time – especially considering that many states have already started efforts to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions rather than wait for the Environmental Protection Agency or Congress.
  • New Jersey has already done much to lower emissions. It gets more than half its electricity from low-carbon nuclear energy and has worked to expand solar power. An offshore wind farm near Atlantic City, however, remains stalled, having been rejected by the state Board of Public Utilities. But the U.S. Department of Energy recently gave it a $47 million grant, reflecting its enthusiasm for the pioneering project. Gov. Christie should seize on the new rules to redeem his poor environmental record and get those wind turbines turning.
  • …[T]he commonwealth will be far better off if Corbett comes up with a smart plan to meet the federal goals. He should work with governors of other coal states and seek federal assistance with the necessary economic transition. He could position the state to reap benefits as an incubator of the new technology that will be required to develop alternative energy resources.

Sources:

Editorial, “Clean it up.” Crain’s Cleveland Business. 8 June 2014

Editorial, “EPA changes are a down payment on a viable planet.” Detroit Free Press.  6 June 2014.

Editorial, “Cleaner and cooler.” Philadelphia Inquirer. 7 June 2014.

 

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