Maine environmental groups praise Obama’s power plant rules

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AUGUSTA (AP) — Environmental advocates in Maine on Monday lauded President Barack Obama’s plan to dramatically cut emissions from U.S. power plants, saying it will keep residents healthier, slow the impacts of climate change and protect Maine’s natural resources-based economy.

Under the new regulations, which Obama touted as the single most important step that the country has taken to combat climate change, states are being asked to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent by 2030.

Maine environmental groups and advocates said that while the new rules won’t have a huge impact on the state’s power plants, they will protect residents from the dirty air that blows into New England from regions that still do rely heavily on coal-fired power plants, like the Midwest.

“In many ways, the Clean Power Plan is about leveling the playing field,” said Dr. Marguerite Pennoyer, a physician in Scarborough who specializes in asthma and allergies. “It’s about making sure that Maine people don’t pay the price for cheap power that is produced elsewhere.”

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Maine is being asked to reduce its emission rate by 11 percent, but Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said the state’s power plants won’t see many big changes.

Maine is expected to comply as part of the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Imitative, which has already collectively reduced carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent since 2005.

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement that it continues to agree with the proposed approach to reduce greenhouse gas production but is still reviewing the rule to ensure that some concerns that it had raised were addressed.

Maine’s congressional delegation was largely supportive of the plan, but Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin said in a statement that he’s concerned that the proposal is too overreaching and could harm Maine businesses.

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