Proposed EPA rules could drive up electric bills, cost jobs

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- For the first time, the federal government will take direct action to reduce CO2 emissions from U.S. power plants. The proposed EPA rules would fight climate change by cutting greenhouse gases. But critics say it will drive up your electric bills and cost jobs.

These rules would effectively outlaw any new coal-fired power plants. And that hits a nerve in the St. Louis area.

Ameren generates a greater percentage of its electricity from coal than just about any other utility in America.

And the coal companies headquartered here, led by giant Peabody, have led to a lot of protests and have created a lot of jobs.

So the St. Louis area has a bigger stake than most in these new EPA rules.

The rules require new power plants to capture and store between 20 and 40 percent of the carbon they produce.

Ameren says this shouldn't affect them a great deal, since they don’t plan any new coal-fired power plants.

But the coal industry calls it, a war on coal.

But St. Louis-based arch coal says the proposal goes way too far, way too fast and erects more barriers to coal use.

St. Louis's Peabody Coal goes further saying it will cause consumer's electric bills to skyrocket. They say the proposal is possibly illegal and may impact the reliability of the electric grid.

But the main issue is jobs, the hundreds of coal company administration jobs and the hundreds of coal mining jobs in the general area.

Which is why Democratic Congressman Bill Enyart from the Bellville area, quickly opposed the new proposed regulations.

And while this proposal only affects new power plants another set of federal standards due next year will try to regulate greenhouse gases from older coal plants, and our area has plenty of those.

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