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Friday, June 28, 2013

President’s order to reduce carbon emissions praised by environmental leaders

CONCORD – Environmental leaders and owners of renewable energy firms on Thursday praised President Barack Obama’s blueprint for action on climate change that would seek to dramatically reduce carbon emission pollution.

State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, said promoting more renewable forms of energy could unleash the creation of new jobs and sources that are competitively priced with fossil fuels. ...

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CONCORD – Environmental leaders and owners of renewable energy firms on Thursday praised President Barack Obama’s blueprint for action on climate change that would seek to dramatically reduce carbon emission pollution.

State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, said promoting more renewable forms of energy could unleash the creation of new jobs and sources that are competitively priced with fossil fuels.

“The depth and breath of this plan is critically needed,” Clark said during a news conference at the Legislative Office Building.

On Tuesday, Obama laid out his agenda, which calls upon coal-powered plants to significantly reduce their pollution over the next decade. Industry officials insist that it will lead to closure of coal plants on a massive scale.

The outline is to cut carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons by 2030, which is more than half the annual carbon produced by the energy industry.

Energy company stocks plummeted in response to the speech.

The proposal also directs federal regulators to permit renewable projects such as wind and solar on public lands to power enough power to serve 6 million homes by 2020.

All of these actions were taken by executive order and do not require congressional action.

“We want energy choices that will help not only our environment but the economy,” said Catherine Corkery, state director of the Sierra Club.

Clark said coal and oil-generating power plants have become less price-competitive in recent years.

“I would say the other game changer has been the product of natural gas, and its cheaper price has really driven down the demand for coal and fossil fuel-based energy,” Clark said.

Matthew Slater, state GOP executive director, said Obama’s policy would devastate the economy.

“President Obama’s radical energy mandates have drawn widespread criticism and have even been condemned by prominent Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin,” Slater said. “Democrats like Sen. Manchin realize that the president’s onerous regulations will be a disaster for our economy because they will burden small businesses and working families with unaffordable energy costs.

“President Obama’s extreme plan is bad for New Hampshire ratepayers, and Sen. Shaheen, Congresswoman Shea-Porter and Congresswoman Kuster should join moderate Democrats like Sen. Manchin in denouncing it.”

Jonathan Gregory, owner of SunRay Solar in Concord, said five of the top 10 states in solar job growth are in the Northeast and Massachusetts is leading the nation.

“The president’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy demonstrates the leadership we need to compete in the new global economy,” Gregory said. “This is a win-win situation for all – investing in the clean energy economy while protecting the health and environment of New Hampshire for generations to come.”

And Thomas Irwin, with the Conservation Law Foundation, said Obama is not acting on his own, as Congress has passed laws endorsing a reduction in carbon pollution and the Supreme Court has upheld regulations over it.

“The president is not acting unilaterally at all,” Irwin said. “These are actions that are long overdue and desperately needed.”

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).