EPA rollback could impact CWLP customers

Changes are coming to environmental regulations across the country. (WRSP)

Changes are coming to environmental regulations across the country. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Monday it will repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan was designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Doug Brown, Springfield City Water, Light and Power's Chief Utility Engineer, said, "The Trump Administration, they're trying to take a balanced approach to it - the country's energy needs - and there's different approaches through various areas of the country."

Brown says the rollback will allow communities to use the resources they have without raising customers' bills. For Springfield, that means keeping units 31, 32 and 33 of the power plant available longer. "You know, under the Obama plan, we would probably be looking at having to retire those units much much sooner," Brown said.

Brown also said keeping those units will protect CWLP customers from the instability of the energy market. "As rates change in the energy market - as prices change - we can shield our customers from that by generating our own power," he explained.

However, the rollback is a disappointment for environmental groups who say repealing the Clean Power Plan is forcing the nation backward.

Scott Gauvin, the Chair of the Sangamon Valley Group of Sierra Club, said, "Capping emissions is extremely important. We all breathe air, I don't care who you are, everybody has to breathe and I think everybody, at their core, wants clean air to breathe."

The rollback is one that will affect the entire country, something environmentalists say is dangerous for the future. "We want to hand over the best place we can for our kids," Gauvin said. "And if we're handing over a place where there are certain parts of the country you just can't live in anymore because it's just too dangerous to live there, then we did a poor job."

CWLP customers will not see any immediate changes. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he will sign a proposal to withdraw the Clean Power Plan on Tuesday, but it's unclear if or when a new rule will replace it. The decision is already facing backlash and possible lawsuits.

This is not the first time the Trump administration has changed environmental policies put in place by the Obama administration. Shortly after taking office, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was pulling out of the Paris Climate deal. Earlier this year, the President also signed an executive order that rescinded at least six Obama-era executive orders meant to curb climate change and regulate carbon emissions.

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