Carbon emissions battle escalates

ST. LOUIS - There's excitement and criticism of the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to reduce carbon pollution. The agency's goal, announced Monday, is to cut carbon emission from coal-operated power plants by 30-percent by the year 2030.

One side of the energy debate says everybody wins because this plan addresses climate change and public health. The other side says nobody wins, and there has to be some kind of middle ground that cleans up the air without costing jobs.

"Nobody is disputing the fact that we want clean air," said Patrick Werner. "I think where the argument comes into play here, where the discussion really comes in to play here is what is the number? What does the science tell us. What is it if we do improve our air quality does it not negatively impact our jobs and our economy? Can we still grow?"

Werner is with the conservative grassroots organization Americans for Prosperity. He says on top of job losses, utility rates will go up because of this EPA plan.

Heather Navarro at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment says reducing carbon emission this much by 2030 means fewer emergency room visits for asthma and respiratory illnesses, and she says it means more jobs.

"If we start switching over to a more renewable energy portfolio, there are going to be jobs created right here in Missouri. So 3,700 jobs by the end of this year already predicted in the solar industry. As the wind industry picks up, we're going to see jobs there. That means manufacturing jobs as well. And these are long-term jobs," said Navarro.

Navarro admits there could be some utility rate fluctuation as power plants adjust to their new normal, if this plan becomes reality.


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