Proponents for and against proposed Environmental Protection Agency standards for existing coal-fired power plants traveled to Chicago today to share opinions at a listening session hosted by the EPA.
Environmental advocates and members of the coal industry in Indiana were in attendance.
Environmental groups are advocating for stronger EPA regulations to reduce the amount of carbon emissions from coal plants.
Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, went to the session with a group of volunteers from Indianapolis. She said carbon standards would be particularly important in Indiana, where more than 80 percent of the state’s power comes from coal.
“There are a lot of vulnerable people and vulnerable industries in Indiana,” Hitt saidy. “On the flip side, you’ve got a lot of economic opportunity from clean energy. Indiana has enough clean energy potential to power the state four times over.”
Coal companies are strongly opposed to these regulations, which they feel will have a destructive effect not only on the coal industry, but on the country’s economy as a whole.
Suzanne Jaworowski is a spokesperson for Indiana coal company Sunrise Coal and says Indiana is one of the cheapest states for electricity. If the regulations pass the cost of coal energy could increase. She says that both sides will need to make some concessions and meet in the middle on this debate.
“You know we’re willing to work together towards making coal emissions even cleaner, but we ask that there has to be a current proven technology available to make that happen,” Jaworowski says.
The EPA has hosted several listening sessions around the country, and will release a draft of carbon standards next summer.