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Hoosier leaders resist EPA carbon rules

Indiana is among the top coal-consuming states in the country, so it is no surprise that Hoosier political and business leaders are protesting new federal proposals to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

“Indiana will oppose these regulations using every means available,” Gov. Mike Pence said Monday in a statement after the Environmental Protection Agency issued its plans.

“The EPA’s proposed rules amount to a backdoor energy tax that will damage Indiana’s economy and hike electric bills for all Hoosiers,” Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said in a statement.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce called the emissions rules “potentially devastating to our state,” noting that more than 80.percent of Indiana’s electrical power is derived from coal.

Just as predictably, Indiana environmental groups praised the Obama administration’s effort to limit greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming and cause health ailments.

“The things we love most about Indiana, our homes and the health of our families are at risk. The time to act is now,” Steve Francis, chairman of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, said in a statement.

The Hoosier Environmental Council pointed out that the new rules would give states 15 years to reduce their 2005 carbon emission levels by 30 percent.

“This will not only allow Indiana companies to cost-effectively comply with this policy, but will allow Indiana to become a major market for innovation in low-carbon technologies,” the council’s executive director, Jesse Kharbanda, said in a statement.

Such a conversion would require an about-face for Indiana’s energy industry. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Indiana consumed 8 1/2 times more coal than it did renewable energy in 2012 and nearly twice as much coal as natural gas.

But the administration’s online profile of Indiana does mention that the country’s largest geothermal heating and cooling system is being built in Muncie, on the campus of Ball State University.

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