Colorado officials planning for new carbon pollution rules

STEVEN K. PAULSON, Associated Press

A spokeswoman for Colorado's coal industry said coal-fired power plants in the state have already made significant strides improving emissions.

DENVER (AP) — Colorado officials say they're planning for an expected EPA rule next month that could require a 30 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions nationwide by 2030.

Colorado Air Pollution Control Division director Will Allison said a number of options are being considered, including improving insulation at existing coal plants, shifting generation to natural-gas combined plants, more renewable energy and conservation.

"We believe the work Colorado has done puts us in good condition," Allison said.

The rules, which aren't yet final, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels. Each state would have to develop a plan to meet the goal.

Allison said the rules as drafted would allow Colorado to work with other states on a regional plan to meet the requirements.

Dianna Orf, spokeswoman for Colorado's coal industry, said coal-fired power plants in the state have already made significant strides improving emissions.

She said the preliminary rules suggest none of the improvements that have already been made, including increased power from renewable energy, would count toward the 30 percent improvement sought by the federal government.

Orf said the proposed rules could require expensive changes to coal-fired plants across the state because Colorado gets about 60 percent of its energy from coal.

Some of the rules could go into effect as early as 2020, making it nearly impossible to get the needed permits, equipment and increased funding needed to pay for the improvements, she said.

Once the final rule is in, state health officials will meet with people affected. Next year, officials will develop a state-specific plan.

The Legislature will then discuss the plan in 2017, before the final state plan is sent to the EPA.

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