State leaders discuss the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Posted by: Marlenia Thornton

Some of Nebraska’s top policymakers and elected officials came together for a special discussion Thursday.

They gathered for the annual Platte Institute’s Legislative Summit.

The event previews hot topics that will be on the state legislature’s upcoming agenda including the EPA’s clean power plan.

It’s an initiative many of our leaders are against.

They say it’s a governmental overreach.

"These are choices that each state should be able to make individually because of their unique circumstances,” Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said.

The EPA and President Obama announced a plan asking states to reduce their carbon and other  harmful emissions by 2030.

Nebraska and 23 other states are challenging the proposal rule.

About two–thirds of the state’s energy is coal–based, which is the largest fuel source for electricity.

The attorney general and governor say our state is being the hardest hit with the EPA asking for a 40 percent reduction.

Some power officials don’t think the proposal is realistic and will drive up utility costs.

"The targets are very aggressive especially for Nebraska. I think I less aggressive over a longer period of time would be lower cost to comply with,”  John McClure said.

He is the Vice President Government Affairs and General Counsel for the Nebraska Public Power District.

Some state lawmakers feel Nebraska is already doing a good job of creating clean air by using greener energy sources, but not all Nebraskans are on board with the state’s direction.

Some believe the state should comply with the EPA’s regulations to better benefit our environment.

"We don’t have much time left to do what we need to do to save this place,” Sharon Cochrane said.

Nebraska and the other 23 states filed the lawsuit last Friday.

The attorney general is hoping the courts will grant a stay to give the states more time to address the issue.