EPA: South Dakota must cut emissions 35 percent

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm •  Published: June 2, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota will need to reduce its carbon emissions from power plants by nearly 35 percent by 2030 as part of a sweeping national proposal unveiled by the Obama administration Monday that is designed to reduce pollutants blamed for global warming.

Overall carbon emissions for the country would be reduced by 17 percent nationwide from 2012 levels under the proposal, which is expected to be finalized in 2015. But the plan sets individual targets from the Environmental Protection Agency for each state, allowing some states to emit more pollutants than others. And it would give states until 2017, and possibly 2018 if they join with other states, to submit plans for how they will comply.

Though South Dakota produces a lot of electricity from Missouri River dams and a growing number of wind farms, it consumes more fossil fuels.

Brian Rounds, a staff analyst with the state Public Utilities Commission, said the state's electricity sources are roughly 65 percent from coal, 16.5 percent hydroelectric, 8 percent nuclear, 6.5 percent wind, 3 percent natural gas and less than 1 percent from other sources.

State Republicans immediately pushed back on the plan. Sen. John Thune said it would amount to an "energy tax" for state residents.

The proposal "will be yet another sucker punch to middle-class families throughout South Dakota struggling to get by in the Obama economy," Thune said. "These regulations, which will increase electricity costs, will especially hurt low-income families and seniors who live on fixed incomes and already devote a large share of their income to electricity bills.