Political Notebook

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Hoosier lawmakers object to EPA rule

Nine of the 11 members of Indiana’s congressional delegation have sent a letter to President Obama asking him to kill a proposed regulation on coal-fired power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency rule would impose the same limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new coal-fired and gas-fired energy sources. Coal generally emits much more carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas blamed for climate change - than natural gas does.

“This blanket standard will discourage the upgrade of existing sources and effectively prevent the construction of new coal-fired plants,” the Hoosier lawmakers contend in their letter to the president.

The regulation would “harm our economy and threaten the reliability of our electricity supply,” they write.

“The proposed rule unnecessarily discriminates against coal as part of our country’s energy portfolio and will dramatically increase the cost of electricity from coal-fired plants,” they write.

The legislators point out that Indiana is among the top 10 coal-producing states and employs 2,500 people in mining. They urge the EPA to adopt different carbon emission standards depending on the fuel source.

The letter is signed by all eight Republican lawmakers from Indiana but only one of three Democrats: freshman Sen. Joe Donnelly, who repeatedly has said he supports the exploration and production of all forms of energy.

Donnelly’s office noted that he was joined by three other Democratic senators – Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota – in sending a similar letter to the White House in March.

The Center for Media and Democracy, a non-profit investigative reporting organization, says that Indiana is second in the nation, behind Ohio, in coal power generation.