EPA Carbon Rules Good for Green Business in NC
By Mary Kuhlman RALEIGH, N.C. - While some people are questioning new rules from the Obama administration limiting carbon pollution from new power plants, many others, including those in North Carolina's green industry, say it's a great first step in addressing climate change. According to John Robbins, a residential developer of green properties near Charlotte, controls on carbon emissions will create better opportunities for new, sustainable forms of energy. And he added that, despite the naysayers, clean energy is the right move for the state and the country. "Even if there were not climate change, there's plenty of good reasons to pursue renewable energies," he said. "They won't run out, they're not dirty, they don't mess up the environment as you mine them, but I still remain astounded at people's ability to ignore the smoking gun and try to say that there's nothing going on." The coal industry and some utilities say the draft regulations amount to an outright ban on the construction of new coal plants. Next summer, the EPA is expected to announce its next set of rules, which will restrict carbon emissions from existing power plants, something many experts say will go much further to reduce emissions. Some critics argue the regulations will kill jobs, but Robbins said they will actually grow jobs in green energy, and that more businesses are seeing the economic benefits in renewable energy. "Why would we not go in a way that damages the earth less, does not cause climate change and makes us more strategically independent, which sustainable energies do?" Former EPA administrator Carol Browner said power plants account for about 40 percent of all the carbon pollution in the U.S., and that the new restrictions are part of a common-sense solution to climate change. "There are requirements to reduce other dangerous pollutants: arsenic, lead, mercury, all quite dangerous so this will be the first standards, the first requirements for power plants to reduce their carbon pollution." A recent analysis from the World Resources Institute shows North Carolina has already made considerable progress in reducing emissions and building a strong, clean energy sector that can meet future carbon standards. Mary Kuhlman is a writer for the Public News Service. This article originally appeared in Public News Service.