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Pa.: No Word on Gov's Emissions Plan

Gov. Ed Rendell, who has been outspoken on the need to limit emissions of global warming gases, has not delivered on a promise to come up with his own strategy for Pennsylvania. Administration spokesmen would give no reason for the delay, other than to say a plan is still being worked on.

Gov. Ed Rendell, who has been outspoken on the need to limit emissions of global warming gases, has not delivered on a promise to come up with his own strategy for Pennsylvania.

Administration spokesmen would give no reason for the delay, other than to say a plan is still being worked on.

When Rendell rolled out his proposal to subsidize alternative energy and conservation efforts Feb. 1, he said he would have a plan ready in 90 days to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists blame for global warming.

But such a plan could prove difficult in Pennsylvania, which produced more electricity from coal in April than any other state except for Texas and is the nation's third-largest producer of the most prevalent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Energy (nasdaq: USEG - news - people ) Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

Seventeen states have made commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including New York, New Jersey and the six New England states. Only one of the 17 states - Illinois - is among the top 10 in electricity production from coal, which is the biggest single source of carbon dioxide.

Some critics say it is costly, and even futile,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Gov. Ed Rendell, who has been outspoken on the need to limit emissions of global warming gases, has not delivered on a promise to come up with his own strategy for Pennsylvania.

Administration spokesmen would give no reason for the delay, other than to say a plan is still being worked on.

When Rendell rolled out his proposal to subsidize alternative energy and conservation efforts Feb. 1, he said he would have a plan ready in 90 days to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists blame for global warming.

But such a plan could prove difficult in Pennsylvania, which produced more electricity from coal in April than any other state except for Texas and is the nation's third-largest producer of the most prevalent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Energy (nasdaq: USEG - news - people ) Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

Seventeen states have made commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including New York, New Jersey and the six New England states. Only one of the 17 states - Illinois - is among the top 10 in electricity production from coal, which is the biggest single source of carbon dioxide.

Some critics say it is costly, and even futile, for a state to embark on a climate-change strategy if its neighbors do not do the same. But with no plan being pressed by the federal government, Rendell and other governors say states must fill the void.

A key part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions may involve capturing carbon dioxide at power plants and pumping it underground. Although electric industry officials say they know of no coal-fired plant where carbon dioxide is being successfully captured, numerous states, power companies and scientists are studying the idea.

Many people, including Pennsylvania's utility consumer advocate, Sonny Popowsky, expect that such efforts to control carbon dioxide emissions will drive up electricity prices.

The Electric Power Generation Association, a group that represents power plant owners such as PPL (nyse: PPL - news - people ) Corp and FirstEnergy Corp. (nyse: FE - news - people ), agrees.

"You can't take what is easily our most abundant fuel for generating electricity and then cap ... the carbon emissions from that and not expect power prices to rise," said Doug Biden, who heads the Harrisburg-based association.

John Hanger, a Harrisburg-based clean-energy advocate, said "carbon sequestration" will mean jobs and money flowing to entrepreneurs savvy enough to jump into what he expects will be a booming new industry. Besides, with coal-fired power plants selling electricity at the same price as plants fired by more expensive natural gas, the cost to capture and store carbon dioxide could simply come out of the plant's profits, he said.

Conservation should also be a big portion of cutting carbon dioxide emissions, Hanger said.

"We've gotten in this country very wasteful with energy," Hanger said. "That creates environmental damage and it also costs more dollars than necessary."

The state Legislature is scheduled to meet in special session Sept. 17 on Rendell's energy plan, which aims to expand the use of cleaner-burning automotive fuels and encourage people to install solar panels and buy energy-efficient appliances.

Although he has missed his own deadline for proposing a greenhouse gas strategy, Rendell has fought for and won initiatives that could play a role in reducing global warming gases.

Under his administration, Pennsylvania became one of nearly two dozen states that require a portion of electricity used within its borders to be generated from clean sources, such as wind and sun.

Rendell also has made Pennsylvania one of about a dozen states that require tougher-than-federal pollution control requirements for vehicles. Under this standard, which is set by the state of California, 2009 model cars must cut back carbon dioxide emissions, although a legal challenge to the standard is pending in federal court.

In addition, Rendell's Department of Environmental Protection has looked at requiring landfill owners to recycle the methane that is generated by below-ground waste and vented into the atmosphere.

Also, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is studying the idea of sequestering carbon dioxide below state parks, forests and private lands.

"There is no one single solution," said John Quigley, the conservation department's director of legislation and strategic initiatives.



Source: http://www.forbes.com/feeds...

AUG 13 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/10605-pa-no-word-on-gov-s-emissions-plan
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