The EPA's clean energy plan reverses policy on a proven natural gas solution.


For years energy analysts have viewed natural gas as the bridge to a cleaner energy future, but the final draft of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan tries to leap that gap in a single bound. This is a stark shift from the EPA's draft plan, which took a realistic approach toward natural gas as a proven alternative to dirty coal.

The Clean Power Plan creates individual goals for 47 states to reduce their carbon output as part of a national, and global, effort to fight climate change ("Obama plan on emissions facing cloud of opposition," Page A1, Tuesday). Vermont is exempted because it doesn't have any large fossil fuel power plants, and Hawaii and Alaska aren't covered due to their own unique power grids.

The 2014 draft plan was true to President Barack Obama's rhetoric about looking at "all of the above" when it comes to reducing pollution and carbon output. In addition to renewable energy sources, the EPA originally provided emission rate credit incentives for states to switch from coal to natural gas under the voluntary Clean Energy Incentive Program. With these policies in place, the EPA predicted a spike in natural gas use - that much touted bridge. However, the final version of the Clean Power Plan provides incentives for wind and solar, and for energy efficiency. (By Houston Chronicle)