South Carolina asked to cut carbon emissions more than half

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Monday, June 2, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The federal government is proposing that South Carolina cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by more than half by the year 2030.

One environmental group says the state is in a good position to do so.

Blan Holman of the Southern Environmental Law Center says South Carolina has reduced carbon pollution by almost a third in the past decade and has burned less coal even as the economy has expanded.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced specific targets for all states Monday as part of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.

South Carolina's 2012 carbon emission rate was almost 1,600 pounds per megawatt hour of energy produced. The new target just over 770 pounds.

About 30 percent power in South Carolina comes from coal-fired power plants.

One of South Carolina's major utilities is warning a federal proposal that the state cuts its power plant carbon dioxide emissions by more than half by 2030 will increase the cost of power and drive away industry.

Santee Cooper spokeswoman Mollie Gore says the percentage reduction proposed for South Carolina is greater those required of 47 other states.

She says the state-owned utility has cut emissions 23 percent during the past decade using the steps the Environmental Protection Agency is suggesting for a new round of emission cuts.

South Carolina Electric & Gas officials are reviewing the proposal. Spokesman Eric Boomhower says when two new nuclear reactors come on line, 60 percent of the utility's generation will come from sources that don't produce greenhouse gases.

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