HELENA — Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., teed off Monday on the Obama administration’s new draft rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, calling them “just another step in this administration’s war on coal.”
“President Obama’s policies completely disregard the hard-working Montana families who rely on the access to affordable energy and the thousands of good-paying union jobs that are created by our state’s energy industry,” he said in a statement.
Montana’s top Democratic officeholders, however, had a much different take, saying climate change needs to be addressed — and that the Obama rules give Montana needed flexibility to craft the rules.
“Agriculture and outdoor recreation power Montana’s economy,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. “From floods to beetle-killed trees, we know the consequences of the changing climate. State-based solutions that reduce the effects of climate change will keep these industries and our economy strong.”
The proposed rules, released Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency, say CO2 emissions must be reduced by 30 percent by 2030.
However, the rules adjust the target for each state, depending on its reliance on coal-based power, and direct each state to devise its own plans to meet the goal. Coal-fired power plants are a major source of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas that causes global warming.
Montana’s goal is a 21 percent reduction in CO2 emissions.
Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, said he’s glad the Obama administration listened to requests to give states flexibility.
Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., said he thinks reducing CO2 emissions is a good idea that will help protect the state’s outdoor heritage, farms, ranches and the jobs they provide.
“I will be listening to Montanans in the coming months to make sure that any final rule from the EPA is right for Montana’s future and for Montana’s jobs now,” he said.
Walsh, appointed to his post four months ago, is running for election this year — and his likely opponent this fall is Daines.
Daines is supporting legislation that says Congress, rather than the EPA, should set effective dates for any carbon regulations.