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Health, Science & Environment

Stakeholders Start On Utah's Clean Power Plan

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KUER File Photo
Emissions from the Huntington Power Plant in Emery County is one of the targets of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. Power plant pollution are the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

State environmental regulators want input from Utahns about reducing the pollution blamed for climate change.

Utah’s joined 24 other states to fight the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in court.

At the same time, state regulators have been drafting a state plan to comply with the new rules.

“This is a rule that can have widespread impacts, and we want to make sure that it’s done in thoughtful way,” says Alan Matheson, director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. “To the extent possible, we want to control our own destiny.”

The regulations require each state to draw up its own plan to cut the greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants Utah cut emissions over 1/3 by the year 2030.

Critics say that would cripple Utah’s coal industry and boost consumer energy costs, since coal-fired power plants generate around 90 percent of the state’s electricity.

Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain Power says it’s on track to meet the goal, and Matheson says Utah needs a fallback in case the lawsuit fails.

“If we don’t file a state plan,” he says, “then we would be subject to a one-size-fits-all federal plan that wouldn’t be in the interests of the people of Utah.”

DEQ holds its first public stakeholder meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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