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The EPA And American Power Plants

Reining in the pollution from American power plants. We’ll dig into the President’s plan and its implications for climate change and the economy.

The coal-fired Plant Scherer is shown in operation early Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Juliette, Ga. The Obama administration unveiled a plan Monday to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, in a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming. (AP)

The coal-fired Plant Scherer is shown in operation early Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Juliette, Ga. The Obama administration unveiled a plan Monday to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, in a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming. (AP)

If necessary, the President told the country, he would act on his own, without Congress, to protect the environment, the planet.  Yesterday, through the EPA, he did.  New proposed rules would cut American carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.  That means, basically, closing or retooling coal-fired power plants to cut pollution and climate change.  The cost?  That will now be debated.  The economic cost of acting.  The environmental cost of not acting.  The alternative energy sources that will move in.  This hour On Point:  the climate, the economy, and the Obama plan.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Amy Harder, energy policy reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@AmyAHarder)

David Victor, professor in the school of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Author of ‘Global Warning Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet.”

Danielle Baussan, managing director of energy policy at the Center for American Progress. (@DanielleBaussan)

Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Center for Energy Policy and Environment at the Manhattan Institute. Author of “Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy And the Real Fuels of the Future.” (@pwrhungry)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: EPA to Seek 30% Cut in Emissions at Power Plants — “The rule would affect hundreds of fossil-fuel power plants—hitting the nation’s roughly 600 coal-fired plants the hardest. The carbon framework seeks to strike a balance between what environmentalists want—an ambitious overall target—with what the utility industry wants—flexibility, a long compliance timeline and an earlier base-year calculation from which to meet the goal. Carbon emissions have dropped since 2005, making the overall reduction smaller when compared with recent years.”

New York Times: Teaching an Old Law New Tricks — “Don’t expect big changes anytime soon. Legal challenges could tie up this effort for years. This is the sad reality of climate policy in the United States circa 2014. With Congress paralyzed on the issue, the country’s climate and energy policy is being made in arcane legal battles over the meaning of single phrases in statutes written long ago, leaving government and industry to duke it out in court.”

POLITICO: Obama seeks 30 percent cuts in power plants’ carbon pollution — “The draft rule also supplied an instant campaign issue for Republicans, who are already pounding vulnerable Democratic candidates as accomplices in a job-destroying, Obama-led “war on coal.” Legal challenges from some states and industry groups are considered inevitable, but EPA has won a string of recent court victories that have boosted the agency’s confidence in its strategy.”

Read The EPA’s Draft Clean Power Plan

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Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

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Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 
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The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

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