JUNEAU (AP) — State political leaders welcomed the announcement Monday that Alaska was not included in a new federal rule aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it didn’t have the information needed to determine the best system of emission reduction in Alaska, which has isolated infrastructures like Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The federal agency said it would determine how best to address emission standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants in those states and territories at an unspecified later date.
“Because we recognize that these areas face some of the most urgent climate change challenges and some of the highest electricity rates in the U.S., we are committed to obtaining the right information to quantify the emission reductions that are achievable in these states and territories and putting goals in place soon,” the agency said in an emailed statement.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and chairwoman of the Senate energy committee, called the EPA decision a significant victory for Alaska.
“I appreciate the EPA’s recognition of the facts — that Alaska has unique needs, limited options for cost-effective compliance and is not interconnected. We simply should not be bound by this sweeping regulation,” she said in a release.
However, Murkowski said she was concerned about the impacts of the rule nationally, including how it might affect electricity prices and reliability of the nation’s electric grid.
Gov. Bill Walker said requiring Alaska to abide by one-size-fits-all standards could increase already steep energy costs.
In a release, he said he looks forward to working with the agency to establish appropriate goals for Alaska.