By Allie Nash
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann has cosponsored a resolution adopted by the National Association of Lieutenant Governors aimed at protecting Indiana’s ability to use coal as a major source of power.
Officials from Missouri, West Virginia, Alabama, South Dakota and Hawaii have also sponsored the resolution, which calls for federal officials to let states “determine the appropriate mix of energy sources to meet it electricity needs.”
The letter is a reaction to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan that calls for state to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plans by a total of 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Indiana’s share of that reduction is somewhat less.
“Gov. Pence and I are concerned about the impact on both individual Hoosiers and our state’s overall economy with the projected increases in energy costs driven by the restrictions on coal fired power plants,” Ellspermann said in a statement.
Indiana has one of the nation’s least diverse power supplies, with 80 percent of its electricity the product of coal-fired plants.
“We in Indiana see these regulations as a continuation of President Obama’s ‘attack on coal’ that will ultimately cause jobs losses in the mining industry and in Indiana’s strong manufacturing economic base that is dependent on low-cost and reliable electricity supplies,” Ellspermann said.
Indiana is the most carbon intensive state in the Midwest and top five in the U.S., federal officials said.
The resolution seeks a delay of the implementation of the Clean Power Plan so that states can do additional planning without limiting access to affordable electricity.
Federal officials say the EPA rule could save up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits by avoiding 6,600 premature deaths, 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and 490,000 missed days of work and school.
A statement from the White House said that 9.1 percent of Indiana’s adult population currently suffers from asthma.