- Associated Press - Saturday, October 14, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Springfield City Utilities plans to continue focusing on renewable energy sources despite President Donald Trump’s announced plan to repeal a federal law designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, a utility official said.

The president has said repealing the Clean Power Plan enacted by the Obama administration would help revive the nation’s coal mining industry.

Scott Miller, general manager for City Utilities, said the proposed repeal would affect the utility only if it significantly reduced the cost of coal, The Springfield News-Leader reported .

A power plant that came online in 2011 is likely the last coal-fired plant City Utilities will build, Miller said. It was designed to handle Springfield area power needs until 2024.

The lower cost of natural gas and renewable energy will keep City Utilities focused on those sources if demand for power grows.

“We talked about this 10 years ago, and I’m surprised we are so far along as we are (with renewables),” Miller said. “We’re out right now for requests for more renewables. We haven’t decided on that yet, but there’s some good pricing out there.”

The proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan has been praised by Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and U.S. Rep. Billy Long, who represents the Springfield area.

“The excessive new rules would have amounted to an additional tax anytime someone flipped on a light switch, harvested a crop, or paid for groceries, low and middle-income families that would have been hit hardest by these regulations,” Blunt said.

The Sierra Club’s Missouri Chapter said the plan would reduce carbon pollution and toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants. In a news release, the organization said a 2014 study by the Harvard School of Public Health estimated the plan would prevent 1,200 premature deaths in Missouri between 2020 and 2030.

It notes that municipal utilities in Springfield, Columbia, Independence, and Kirkwood have found renewable energy significantly less costly than the coal-based energy.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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