EPA Proposes Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution

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COLUMBIA - At the direction of President Barrack Obama, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Power Plan proposal Monday, which aims to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.

Carbon pollution from power plants is the single largest source of pollution in the country. The proposal's goal is to reduce emissions by 33 percent by 2030.

Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, as there are no national limits on carbon pollution levels. 

Columbia has two coal and oil power plants, the Columbia Municipal Power Plant and one on the University of Missouri campus.

Anthony Lupo, an environmental scientist, said the regulations will have more of an impact on cities by reducing smog and soot in the air, than a global impact.

"While the regulations won't affect global temperatures too much, locally and in urban areas it can lead to slightly cleaner air. C02 can lead to the production of ozone which can be harmful to people," Lupo said.

The E.P.A does limit the levels of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, however. 

In 2004, Columbia voters approved an ordinance to require Columbia Water and Light to phase in more renewable energy into the portfolio.

The Power Production Superintendent, Christian Johanningmeier, says this ordinance has probably put Columbia ahead of the curve in reducing its carbon emission levels.

According to Johanningmeier, the Columbia Municipal Power plant is in the process of replacing its coal generation with natural gas generation, which reduces CO2 emissions. 

The Clean Power Plan will be implemented through a state-federal partnership, allowing states to create a plan using current or new electricity production and pollution control policies to meet the goals of the proposed program. 

States have the opportunity to develop plans to meet state-specific goals to reduce their carbon pollution levels. 

States have until June of 2016 to submit their plans to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 



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