The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 5th

Panelists debate proposed EPA carbon regulation plan

The Clean Power Plan would reduce carbon output from power plants by setting a new standard for states’ emission levels. But it would leave up to the states the details of how to lessen cumulative output.

Federal and state environmental leaders, law experts, advocacy groups and a Duke Energy executive were part of the forum hosted by UNC’s Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources and the UNC Institute for the Environment.

“North Carolina is going to be a centerpiece (for the plan),” said Steve Wall, project director for the Institute’s Environmental Resource Program and one of the forum’s organizers. “It’s a very timely issue, and it serves to bring people together to discuss it.”

Wall said some North Carolina officials are concerned about the plan because the state might not get credit for already reducing pollution.

The EPA will collect public feedback on the Clean Power Plan until Dec. 1.

After Marguerite McLamb, a policy adviser for the EPA, gave a summary of the proposed carbon regulations, a panel of legal and policy experts discussed the efficacy of the plan and possible litigation.

Jeremy Tarr, a policy associate for Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said legal challenges have already surfaced in several states.

“One issue for states is how to move forward with a constructive process ... while at the same time political voices may be against (the plan),” Tarr said.

UNC law professor David Ardia said the media might also negatively impact the implementation.

The second panel included state officials and company leaders. Sheila Holman, director of the division of air quality for the N.C. Department of Energy and Natural Resources, said she is concerned about the potential waste of resources in the state if the regulations are affected by pending litigation.

Cari Boyce, vice president of environmental and energy policy at Duke Energy, said the company has invested $7.5 billion since 1999 to reduce carbon output. But she cited similar concerns to Holman, noting it was one of the most complex plans the company had ever seen.

But Bob Keefe, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs, said he supports the efforts to curb carbon pollution.

“It’s the biggest environmental policy in our lives and can be a gigantic economic policy,” Keefe said.

After listening to the two panels, McLamb said the discussions were educational and helpful.

“(The panelists) engaged in good dialogue of what the issues are, and that’s what everyone’s doing, including the EPA,” she said.


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