The state, the Sierra Club and other stakeholders have submitted comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
Former President Barack Obama's administration designed the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through regulating existing and new coal-fired power plants. Public comments on the proposal were due April 26.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality wrote a three-page comment supporting repeal, arguing that it was overly burdensome and inconsistent with the Clean Air Act by regulating a power sector already regulated elsewhere. The Clean Air Act specifically prohibits that regulation, the department wrote.
The Clean Power Plan "would have placed a tremendous burden on state agencies, including ADEQ, to develop a complex system of carbon regulations on the U.S. energy sector -- an area in which environmental agencies are not traditionally familiar," the comment read.
Utilities also expressed concern about the cost and complexity of the Clean Power Plan.
The Sierra Club and Earthjustice provided 32 pages of a joint written comment opposing the proposal, but members made many additional individual comments.
Earlier this year, the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club bused members to Kansas City, Mo., picking up other Sierra Club members along the way, to provide oral comments at an EPA-hosted public hearing on the repeal.
In their written comments, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice wrote that the EPA is required under the Clean Air Act to issue performance standards for any source it finds to contribute to air pollution. The groups further argued that acting sooner would prevent the worst potential impacts of climate change and that the power plants are a better target for carbon dioxide emissions than the transportation sector.
"The coal industry has been in economic decline and coal miners have been losing their jobs for many years for reasons other than the Clean Power Plan, including automation and changes in the relative prices of various energy sources," the comment read.
State Desk on 05/06/2018
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