The EPA has announced a plan to reduce the amount of carbon emitted by existing power plants. As Bryan Thompson explains, they’re proposing reduction targets, and leaving it up to the states how to meet those goals.
By the year 2030, the EPA wants Kansas to reduce emissions 23 percent below 2012 levels.
Gina Penzig is a spokeswoman for Westar Energy, the largest utility company in Kansas.
“It’s really too soon to have a definite strategy on how we’re going to approach this," Penzig says. "One of the things that will be important is looking at the flexibility that the rule allows, so that we can use as many different tools as needed to come up with the right solution.”
Coal is responsible for 63% of the electricity generated in Kansas. For Westar, the figure is slightly higher.
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts says the new rules will lead to higher electric rates, threatening middle-class families. EPA Adminstrator Gina McCarthy says the critics are wrong.
“Any small price increase that we see as a result of this rule is about the price of a gallon of milk a month, and it’s dwarfed by the huge benefits," she explains.
McCarthy says those benefits include reduced effects of climate change, and lower rates of asthma, heart attacks, and premature death.