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White House Targets Coal-Burning Plants in New Climate Plan


UPDATE: August 3, 2015 9:30 a.m

The Snake River Alliance, in its response to this morning's Clean Power Plan announced by The White House, said it was clear that that the Obama Administration and Environmental Protection Agency "listened to the concerns of states like Idaho that the [plan], as drafted, had posed difficult deadlines for states like Idaho writing greenhouse gas reduction plans," but now Idaho has "an extra year to prepare compliance plans and two extra years to begin implementing them."

"But we in Idaho still have some heavy lifting ahead to do our share to tackling missions from coal-fired power plants," said Alliance Clean Energy Program Director Ken Miller.

.ORIGINAL POST: August 3, 2015 8 a.m.

It hasn't taken long for much of the GOP field in the 2016 presidential race to denounce President Barack Obama's new Clean Power Plan, a regulation that will require every state to reduce its emissions from coal-burning power plants.

This morning, The White House pointed to three decades of increased levels of asthma, severe droughts and wildfires, rising sea levels and 14 of the 15 warmest years on record as underscoring the need for the plan, which establishes first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants.

Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush called the rule "irresponsible and overreaching" and said it would "throw countless people out of work and increase everyone's energy prices."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was quick to say that the plan was a "significant step" forward and that she, "as president, defend it."

Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that overall power-plant carbon emissions will be reduced 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, similar to what the EPA set in a draft rule proposed in the summer of 2014. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, said in a May analysis of the proposed rule that electricity bills would rise by approximately 3 percent by 2030, but the EPA insists that electricity bills will ultimately decrease by up to 8.7 percent by 2030, driven by consumers being more energy efficient and overall lower electricity demand.

Idaho Power continues its shared ownership of three coal-fired plants. In 2013, the utility reported that it generated approximately 34 percent of its power from coal plants. One of those facilities, in Boardman, Ore., is slated to shut down in 2020. Argus Media reported in July that Idaho Power officials were resisting the shutdown of another of those facilities in North Valmy, Nev.