OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Some of Oklahoma's top political leaders criticized President Barack Obama's plan Monday to fight climate change by cutting carbon dioxide emissions at power plants, saying it would likely increase electricity costs for consumers and harm the economy.
Obama's "Clean Power Plan" proposes that by 2030 carbon pollution from the nation's power plants will be cut by 32 percent from 2005 levels. Proponents say it will keep 870 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking 166 million cars off the road or cutting every ounce of emissions due to electricity from 108 million American homes.
But Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said the president's plan overreaches the federal government's authority and "represents one of the most expansive and expensive regulatory burdens ever imposed on U.S. families and businesses."
Power plants account for roughly one-third of all U.S. emissions of the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming, making them the largest single source. But the Republican governor said the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules "will have minimal environmental benefits" while leading to significant increases in utility costs across the nation.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose office has filed a federal lawsuit that challenges the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, said the proposal "threatens the reliability and affordability of power for consumers and business across this country."
"The administration doesn't have the legal authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions from these sources because these sources are already being regulated and the act prohibits this sort of double regulation," Pruitt said.
Pruitt said his office filed a legal challenge against the Clean Power Plan because it forces Oklahoma to restructure the generation, transmission and regulation of electricity in a way that could threaten the reliability and affordability of power in the state.
Fallin said she supports the Republican attorney general's efforts to block the guidelines.
"Oklahoma, not the federal government, knows best how to protect our environment while also supporting our economy," the governor said.