- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers grappled Thursday with the state’s possible response to new federal rules aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants.

The frustration surfaced at the first meeting Thursday of a committee of five state senators and six House members. Lawmakers created the panel earlier this year to review any plan that the state comes up with to comply with the rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA told states earlier this year that by 2022, they must start reducing carbon emissions linked to climate change. The EPA’s target for Kansas is a 43 percent reduction by 2030.

Opponents argue complying with the standards will be costly and that the timeline for compliance is too short.

The Topeka Capital Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1YRA3RI ) that the Kansas attorney general’s office plans to challenge the federal rules in court, but that can’t happen until after the final rule is published. Several states are expected to file legal challenges.

State Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, said lawmakers will most likely just have to let the attorney general fight the standards in court.

“That’s the legal process. I understand that. And I understand the danger to industry. We certainly don’t want to put the electric generation industry at risk. But this is just one of those issues, there are many issues where the feds are overreaching,” Knox said.

Kansas is expected to submit its initial plan, along with an extension request, in September 2016.

The Kansas Corporation Commission will conduct cost and reliability studies from November until April, according to the timeline by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Those studies will seek to determine how affected utilities can comply with the standards.

KDHE will prepare the initial plan with the extension request sometime between March and June, and a public comment process will take place in July before the plan is given to the Legislature in August.

The Obama administration released the final version of the clean power plan in August that calls for a 32 percent nationwide reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, as compared to 2005 emission levels. The final plan is more stringent than what had previously been expected. The initial proposal had called for a 30-percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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