Power plant plan further clouds coal's future

Jun 03, 2014 by Dina Cappiello

President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to reduce the gases blamed for global warming from the nation's power plants gives many coal-dependent states more lenient restrictions—and won't necessarily be the primary reason coal-fired power plants will be retired.

If Kentucky, for example, meets the new limits that the Obama administration proposed Monday, it would be allowed to release more heat-trapping carbon dioxide per unit of power in 2030 than plants in 34 states do now.

The Environmental Protection Agency's complex formula to calculate each state's reductions gives some coal-heavy states a more relaxed standard, based on what the agency deemed was realistic to achieve.

Environmentalists had hoped the proposal would shutter hundreds of coal-fired power plants. Republican critics warned of a major economic impact on .

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