Emissions regulations could impact state’s economy, electric companies

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The U.S. Environment Protection Agency will require states to reduce 30 percent of carbon emissions by 2030. Indiana lawmakers and energy companies see this as a huge negative impact for the state.

More than 80 percent of the state’s energy comes from coal. Brian Bergsma, director of communications and government affairs for Indiana Michigan Power, said it’s too early to tell the impact of the new EPA mandate, but said he hopes the new requirements don’t have an enormous negative impact on the state than what’s being predicted.

“We certainly believe those rules should be sensible to promote economic growth and not have an overbearing consumer impact,” Bergsma said.

Indiana, along with other states, will have three years to present a plan with their emission targets. Bergsma said with EPA wanting all the states to reduce their emissions by 30 percent within the next 16 years doesn’t fit every state’s structure and should be evaluated on a state by state basis.

“What is best for Indiana is best decided upon by Indiana regulators,” he said. “We believe those processes should be shaped in a sensible manner.”

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., spoke on the senate floor Wednesday afternoon. He addressed President Obama about the negative impact this new mandate will have on Indiana. Sen. Coats said we should look to Germany as an example of how this similar mandate can hinder economic growth.

“This EPA proposal will place a chokehold on Indiana’s primary and most affordable energy source and cause struggles similar to those seen by Germany today,” said Coats. “While the German government subsidizes inefficient technologies and obsesses about emissions goals, Germany has ironically ramped up its coal use to lower energy costs.”

Sen. Coats said this new mandate will drive up the cost of electric bills. Experts didn’t say how much it will go up.

Leaders from Northeastern REMC said they will also be assessing the situation.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Governor Mike Pence do not support EPA’s emissions requirements. Pence plans to file a federal lawsuit against the EPA.

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