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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.

Simpson takes on Obama over moves against greenhouse gas emissions

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The head of a House panel that helps set the Environmental Protection Agency's budget plans to do everything in his power to thwart President Barack Obama's proposed new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican, is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment. He said Thursday Obama's plan to reduce pollution from industrial installations including coal-fired power plants that supply his home state with about half its electricity show the president has little concern for the economic impact of such regulations. Simpson says he believes Congress, not the president via an executive order, should be in charge of any new greenhouse gas regulations. He pledged that his fiscal year 2014 budget bill "will be part of the battleground" over Obama's intentions.

You can read Simpson's full news release here.

Idaho DEQ board rejects anti-greenhouse gas petition

A national group that's filed petitions or lawsuits in all 50 states seeking dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions hit a brick wall in Idaho, according to reporter Sean Ellis, who reports in this week's Capital Press that the Idaho Board of Environmental Quality unanimously rejected the petition at its meeting last week. The group, Kids vs. Global Warming, asked that Idaho ensure carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use in the state be reduced 6 percent a year, starting in 2013, and lasting at least until 2050.

DEQ staff told the board that Idaho's biggest source of such emissions is transportation, and regulating residential emissions would be difficult; if just commercial and industrial emissions were targeted, they'd have to be reduced 25 percent a year for the state to meet the petition's goal. Agriculture groups opposed the petition. You can read Ellis' full report here.