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“The federal standards are simply not good enough,” said Gina McCarthy, commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection. “If we can't get the federal government to act, then we have to take action in any way we can.”
Several states are creating energy efficiency rules for items such as power plant and mobile exhausts, and they are also mandating the use of renewable energy such as wind and solar to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Seven Democratic-led states have banned together to restrict emissions such as CO2 and mercury emissions from power plants. Renewable energy requirements have expanded beyond blue-state boundaries as seven states with GOP governors have joined 13 Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia in establishing goals for energy production by defined percentages of renewable sources.
The Bush administration welcomes state efforts “as long as they do not put Americans out of jobs or move emissions from one state to another or one country to another,” said Michele St. Martin, a spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. GOP lawmakers pointed out that they did get an energy bill passed that will increase energy supplies and promote cleaner energy production. Lawmakers said they supported allowing states to make some rules, but noted that they disagreed with some of the measures.
State-by-state standards are “absolutely a nightmare for our members,” said Keith McCoy, the National Association of Manufacturers vice president of resources and environmental policy in Washington. “They create a patchwork of regulatory compliance issues.”
In general, industry has supported the call to require energy generated from renewable sources. The electric generation industry stands opposed to the power plant emission restrictions because they believe the result will be more job losses in manufacturing to other countries, where energy costs are lower.