INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana’s top environmental regulator told a legislative
panel Wednesday he’s concerned tough, new federal pollution standards could
make it nearly impossible for utilities to build new coal-fired power plants
in the state.
The commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management,
Thomas Easterly, told lawmakers that the pending federal regulations will
essentially rule out coal-fired power plants that currently generate much of
the state’s electricity.
State Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, said during Wednesday’s meeting of the
Environmental Quality Service Council that inexpensive electricity has long
made Indiana a center for manufacturing and the state risks losing key
industries if that advantage goes away.
But Democratic state Sen. Jean Breaux of Indianapolis said pollution from
coal-fired power plants harms Hoosiers’ health. She said that’s harder to
see than a factory closing but likely costs more in the long run, The Times
of Munster reported.
The Obama administration announced in September it was pressing ahead with
tough requirements to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, despite
protests from industry and Republicans that it would dim coal’s future. The
administration said global warming attributed to carbon pollution from
industries is linked to public health, disease and extreme weather.
New federal proposals would set the first national limits on heat-trapping
pollution from future power plant and move the nation to cleaner sources of
Easterly said Indiana has made significant progress improving its air and
water quality during the past decade. He said that nearly the entire state
now in compliance with federal pollution limits.
“The air is getting cleaner,” Easterly said. “We are making great progress.”
He said LaPorte County still does not meet air quality standards because of
Chicago pollution blowing across Lake Michigan, but that levels are near the