Lawmakers say EPA regulations on carbon emissions will hurt Georgia

The EPA announces a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30% in 16 years

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, slams the new EPA rules as job killers. (File photo)

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, slams the new EPA rules as job killers. (File photo)


U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, says new EPA regulations show the administration is out of touch with the public. (File photo)

ALBANY — Tougher carbon dioxide emission regulations announced Monday got a chilly reception from a pair of federal lawmakers who represent Southwest Georgia.

According to the proposed regulations, U.S. power companies will be required to cut CO2 emissions 30 percent by 2030, which Gina McCarthy, administrator of EPA, said would be a reduction that would be more than double the carbon pollution emitted from the entire U.S. power sector last year. Currently, the United States gets almost 38 percent of its electricity from coal-powered plants.

“The EPA has already mandated a litany of costly regulations,” U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, said Monday, “and now the president is once again punishing energy providers with rules that will result in lost jobs, higher energy costs, and a less reliable energy grid – burdens that will have an immediate and real-world effect on American families.

“We must focus on policies that will build our economy, not political statements that hurt middle-class Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, echoed Chambliss’s reaction.

“The president’s announcement to place even more burdensome regulations on existing power plants is just the latest example of how out of touch the Administration is with everyday Americans,” Scott said. “The majority of electricity in Georgia is produced by fossil fuels.

“These regulations will ultimately create higher power bills for Georgians, lead to job losses, and weigh down the overall economy.”

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Marietta, and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, had not issued any statements on the EPA action by Monday evening.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that Georgia was already ahead of the curve, having sliced carbon emissions from power plants more than the 30 percent national target. Whether the state would be in compliance already is unknown since each state will have mandated cuts that could be above or below the national average.

Georgia also would have to keep its emissions down through 2030 even though the state’s population is expected to rise in that 16-year period.

According to a statement from the White House on Monday, 59 million metric tons of carbon were emitted from power plants in Georgia in 2012, which administration officials said was the equivalent of the annual pollution from more than 12 million autos. White House officials predicted that in the first year of the program it would prevent 100,000 asthma attacks in children and young adults in the U.S. and help Americans avoid 1,800–4,270 premature deaths and up to 2,100 heart attacks.

“Through the president’s leadership, and the initiative of the state of Georgia, local communities, and the private sector, a number of common-sense measures to combat carbon pollution in Georgia are already in place,” White House officials said. “… (B)etween 2008 and 2011, carbon emissions from the power sector decreased over 20 percent in Georgia.”