Governor Fights New Coal Regulations

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By Alabama News Network

New federal regulations on coal plants are drawing criticism from many in Alabama. 

One of several public hearings was held in Atlanta today and Governor Robert Bentley sent a representative to make his case. 

The EPA wants to cut back on carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.

The governor is concerned that could hurt jobs here in Alabama. 

Coal supplied almost 40 percent of the United States' electricity last year. 

The EPA wants to cut that number across the board, but Governor Robert Bentley says their plan needs work. 

"Now I do think they're a little heavy handed. I always thought the federal government was. We're going to continue to push back on the federal government. But we're going to give them a chance. We're going to make sure that we have our input and we have a plan," said Governor Bentley. 

The governor serves as the head of the Southern States Energy Board. He sent a plan to the EPA with things the state is already doing to cut back on emissions. 

Alabama Power is still unsure exactly how the proposed regulations would affect prices. But the company is concerned that it would limit them and potentially drive up prices. 

The Southern Environmental Law Center says the regulations are very doable and could even help save customers money. 

"You have solar, wind, geothermal, there's all sorts of energy sources out there to diversify the energy mix to really reach those goals," said attorney Keith Johnston with the center. 

Governor Bentley isn't sure those options are realistic for Alabama, but he says the price of energy is very important to him.

"We're concerned about the cost of energy for our individuals in the state of Alabama and we're also concerned about job reduction. because if you have an increase in the cost of energy you're not going to be able to recruit as many companies to Alabama."

The governor said he talked with the head of the EPA and she seemed receptive to his ideas. 
 

The Atlanta hearing is one of four across the country before the regulations go into effect.

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