Georgia lawmakers consider new power plant rules

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers heard contrasting views Thursday on how the state could meet proposed rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants.

President Barack Obama's administration has proposed a 30 percent cut in carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants by 2030, one of the most significant actions to curb the key gas linked to global warming. Federal officials are still accepting comments on the plan and have not adopted a final version.

The proposals would force Georgia to trim its carbon dioxide emissions roughly 44 percent from 2012 through 2030. Georgia's Environmental Protection Division is still trying to figure out how to meet those goals.

An analysis by environmental groups Sierra Club and GreenLaw said Georgia could meet roughly a third of its target by following through on existing plans to phase out coal-fired power plants and completing two nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle. Their plan would also require increasing energy efficiency to trim demand by 1.5 percent annually. It recommended using solar and wind energy to achieve the rest of the cuts in carbon emissions.

Utility companies have largely opposed the plan, saying it will raise costs. Georgia should have received more credit for investing billions of dollars in the new nuclear reactors, said Clay Robbins, a lobbyist for Oglethorpe Power Co.

"We believe this is an egregious error and must not stand in the final rule," he said.

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