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Iowa Power Companies Warn Carbon Proposal Means Higher Bills

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OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) - Iowa utility officials say the Obama administration’s ambitious plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is likely to increase costs.

The plan announced Monday calls for carbon emissions to be cut by 30 percent by 2030 when compared to 2005 levels. But utilities and state officials say they’ll have to review the details before they know how Iowa will be affected.

Regi Goodale with the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives says it’s just a question of how much electric bills will increase because of the new regulations.

Iowa utilities invested heavily in wind power over the past decade and improved the efficiency of existing power plants. Mark Douglas with the Iowa Utilities Association says the state may be in a good position because of those past efforts.

Republicans in Congress are vowing to challenge the plan outlined by the Obama administration today that is aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years. They say it will cost jobs.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell calls the proposal “a dagger in the heart of the American middle class.”

But environmental groups are hailing the proposal. Former Vice President Al Gore says it’s “the most important step taken to combat the climate crisis in our country’s history.”

The plan is a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s efforts to deal with climate change. Each of the 50 states will now determine how to meet individual targets set by the Environmental Protection Agency, and then submit the plans for approval.

Some states will be allowed to emit more pollutants, and others less. And the deadline for some states to comply won’t come until long after Obama leaves office.

Scrapping the rules could be easier for Republicans if they take the Senate in November and then the White House in 2016.

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming is accusing Obama of taking the side of “extreme activists instead of unemployed Americans.” And one industry group says Obama will be “creating America’s next energy crisis.”

But an environmental group, Friends of the Earth, says the plan “doesn’t go far enough to put us on the right path.”

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