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New EPA rule would require Idaho power plants to cut carbon emissions by a third over 15 years

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Obama Administration announced Monday that Idaho will have to cut its carbon pollutants by a third over the next 15 years. The new standard is part of national initiative aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as high as 40 percent in some states from their 2005 level. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Idaho's power sector emitted 1 million metric tons of carbon in 2012 and produced 4 million megawatt hours of energy. This means that the state's emission rate was about 340 pounds per megawatt hours. The EPA proposed that Idaho reduce its rate to 228 pounds per megawatt hours. Idaho has no coal plants but consumes coal-produced energy from nearby states. According to the EPA, most of Idaho's energy comes from renewable sources.

Otter pans Obama’s moves against coal-plant emissions, says wildfires cause more pollution

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — At a Utah meeting this week, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter blasted President Barack Obama for seeking to limit coal-fired power plant emissions while not allowing sufficient timber cutting to tame big Western wildfires, another greenhouse gas source. Otter told reporters Idaho wildfires send more carbon dioxide skyward than is released to produce coal-generated electricity used by the state's 1.5 million residents.The governor's numbers may be technically correct. But according to authors of a 2007 study of U.S. wildfire emissions, Otter's link between forest blazes and coal is misleading. That's because it focuses on a sparsely populated state with vast range and timberland that burns annually and it equates carbon captured in trees with carbon locked underground since dinosaur days. Now burned for energy, that's what's boosting atmospheric concentrations. Otter's comments came at a Western Governors Association meeting in Park City.

Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Cap and trade bill clears a key committee, but is much stripped down…for now, it’s mainly cap, not much trade…

In tomorrow’s paper:

A controversial “cap and trade” plan that would put Washington at the forefront of efforts to combat global warming has been dramatically watered down under pressure from businesses and rural Republicans.

Nonetheless, proponents say they remain optimistic. The bill, requested by Gov. Chris Gregoire, cleared a key House committee Tuesday.

“It’s still viable. It establishes a real cap” on greenhouse gases, said state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish. “That’s a critical first step.”

Among the sharpest critics of the bill: Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda. Saying that the plan will destroy rural industries, he’s blasted it as “cap and extort” and says that trading pollution credits would spawn cronyism. He’s publicly suggested that disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich would be a good fit to run it.

“He’s well-suited to run a system like that,” Kretz said in an interview Wednesday. “And he’s looking for work.”