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PSC member: new EPA plan will drive up power costs

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm •  Published: June 2, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Top elected officials in Louisiana objected Monday to the Obama administration's plan to limit carbon dioxide pollution from electric power plants, with one member of the Public Service Commission recommending a lawsuit to block it.

Clyde Holloway, who called for the PSC lawsuit, said the plan would drive up the cost of electricity in Louisiana, which had the nation's lowest average retail rate in 2012.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and both of Louisiana's U.S. senators also criticized the Environmental Protection Agency plan, which calls for Louisiana to cut carbon emissions from power plants by nearly 40 percent — from 1,466 pounds per megawatt-hour in 2012 to 833 pounds per megawatt-hour in 2030.

"President Obama does not understand the American economy," Jindal said. He said the proposed regulations would shut down hundreds of power plants nationwide and increase electricity costs.

Congress, not the EPA, should set terms and goals for reducing carbon, said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. "Greater use of natural gas and stronger efficiency measures adopted by the industry have already helped us reduce carbon emissions to their lowest levels in 20 years, and this should continue," she said.

Republican Sen. David Vitter said, "This rule is all pain, no gain." Because other countries spew out more pollution, he said, "American families and businesses will have to shoulder all the costs and burden from this rule without contributing to any significant reduction in global carbon emissions."

Holloway said a PSC lawsuit would need approval by at least three of the five elected members.

Louisiana has six coal-fired generating plants. The state has been moving to cleaner natural gas for its power, Holloway said.

According to the EPA, Louisiana got just under 21 percent of its power from coal in 2012. Natural gas plants accounted for nearly 58 percent of its power, nuclear 15 percent, petroleum nearly 3 percent and biomass about 2.3 percent, according to the agency.

Casey DeMoss, CEO of the nonprofit Alliance for Affordable Energy, offered more recent figures.

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