Proposed limits on pollution at existing coal-fueled power plants are being called necessities by environmental activists, but coal miners call them job killers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hearing both sides at a listening session Friday in Chicago, one of 11 being held across the country. Those in favor of limits on carbon emissions at existing plants claim it’s a vital weapon in fighting climate change.
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“In Illinois, the deleterious effects of climate change are becoming more noticeable and frequent,” said Tiffany Ingram, Midwest advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “In the last three years, violent storms have devastated local communities, record summer droughts have destroyed agricultural crops.”
Opponents, such as Kirk Cooper of Boilermakers Union Local 60 in Morton, said plants would be forced to shut down if the new limits went into effect. “At this time above all others, we should work together to protect and create jobs, not eradicate them,” Cooper said. Other opponents of the proposed regulations questioned the EPA’s assertion that carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for climate change.