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Obama Unveils Carbon Rules, Ky. Leaders Lace Up For A Fight

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) / President Barack Obama (right)

A bipartisan chorus of Kentucky lawmakers and officials are decrying President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which they say will deal a serious blow to the state’s coal and manufacturing sectors.

Monday the president made the case for imposing new mandatory emissions standards on power plants that would reduce carbon output by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

"We limit the amount of toxic chemical like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water and we're better off for it," Obama told a press conference. "But existing power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of harmful carbon pollution into the air. For the sake of our kids and the health and safety of all Americans , that has to change."

But Kentucky leaders – from Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell to Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway – are vowing to fight the regulations tooth and nail. In a statement, Gov. Steve Beshear characterized the deal as “disastrous” for the Commonwealth while McConnell charged that Obama is thwarting the will of the people by sidestepping Congress.

"That’s why the administration is now trying to impose these deeply regressive regulations — regulations that may be illegal, that won’t meaningfully impact the global environment, and that are likely to harm middle-and-lower class Americans most - by executive fiat," he said.

Opponents of the regulations argue the plan will also drive up Kentucky’s traditionally low electricity rates.

President Obama calls the federal limits the “single most important step America has taken in the fight against global climate change.” 

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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