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Utah official calls EPA plan 'bold and aggressive'

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm •  Published: June 2, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal plan to cut pollution blamed for global warming by 2030 is winning cheers from environmental advocates, but a key state official says the plan is "bold and aggressive" and questions whether it can be executed.

The rule would curb national carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by almost a third over the next decade in a half. It would require Utah, which relies on coal for 80 percent of its electricity, to cut coal-generated emissions by nearly as much.

Environmental advocates say it could spur alternative energy development, launching Utah as a major player in the solar power industry. They contend it could help to clear Utah's murky wintertime skies.

Current figures from the Environmental Protection Agency don't include power plants on tribal lands; officials are still collecting the data there.

The federal rule tailors specific goals for each state, and it's up to governors to submit a plan to meet the federal standard by 2017. If they choose to forgo making a proposal, the EPA may impose its own regulations. But it's unclear how regulators would police those restrictions.

Cody Stewart, the governor's energy adviser, labeled the plan "bold and aggressive" Monday after skimming the 645-page rule. He praised the plan for giving states flexibility, but said Utah officials need more details.

"Of course we all want cleaner power, but that goal has to be balanced against other goals as well," he said, including consumers' electricity bills and power plant jobs. "Is it doable? I don't know yet. I don't know how much pain it's going to inflict on the state of Utah."

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