EPA asks Alaska to cut carbon emissions 26 percent

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 2, 2014 at 6:34 pm •  Published: June 2, 2014
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska state officials will study a federal plan to lower carbon pollutant emissions before weighing in on its effects, according to a Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner spokesman.

The Obama administration on Monday unveiled an initiative aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels.

Emissions cuts vary by state. In Alaska, the plan calls for a cut of carbon pollutants by nearly 26 percent over the next 15 years.

The draft rule is more than 600 pages long, and it's accompanied by nearly 400 pages of regulatory analysis, according to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Spokesman Ty Keltner said Department of Environmental Conservation Larry Hartig would take a few days to review the plan.

"It's really too soon to make any comments on this," Keltner said. "The department and the state just got this plan like everybody else did and the commissioner and the Division of Air Quality is going to need some time to look at it to figure out what this means for Alaska."

Alaska generates 10 percent of its electricity from coal plants. The largest source of power, natural gas, accounts for 52 percent of Alaska's electricity and could generate more if a gas pipeline is built to Fairbanks and southcentral Alaska communities. Hydropower generates 23 percent of Alaska's electricity and diesel fuel generates 15 percent.

Across the nation, coal represents 40 percent of electricity generation. Natural gas makes up 26 percent. Renewables, not counting hydropower, make up about 5.7 percent.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Alaska in 2012 emitted 1.96 million metric tons in 2012 at a rate of 1,351 pounds per megawatt hour. The 2030 goal is to cut that to 1,003 pounds per megawatt hour.