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EPA says proposed regulation will do more than clean air

Gino Geruntino
Judith Enck, with the EPA, listens to a question during a discussion about a proposed regulation held in Syracuse Wednesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce carbon pollution nationwide means a goal of reducing carbon emissions in New York state by more than 40 percent. Judith Enck, the area's EPA regional administrator, was in Syracuse to discuss how the plan will allow the nation to keep producing energy, while reducing pollution. Enck says the regulation, which is scheduled to start in 2020, isn't just about protecting the environment from air pollution.

"People with allergies are struggling," Enck said. "There's more asthma attacks because of air pollution. So, I think everyone in central New York has a real interest in making sure that we're reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so that our environment and our public health are protected in the future."

Enck says the EPA's plan targets only carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants, which burn coal, oil or natural gas to produce electricity. She says although the regulation is narrow, it will have a major impact on the health of the environment.

"It's not just one thing, but this one EPA regulation, this one regulation alone, is going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for fossil-fuel power plants by 30 percent," she explained. "That's pretty significant."

Each state is being given a carbon emission rate that they need to reach by 2030. Enck says although there are some who say the regulation doesn't go far enough, in states where fossil fuel power plants are heavily relied on there has been pushback. The EPA's public comment period on the proposal ends October 16.