The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan aims to cut carbon emissions at coal fired power plants by 2030. Arkansas is home to five coal powered plants, including Flint Creek in Gentry, and State Rep. Greg Leding says the new rules could have a substantial impact here in the Natural State.
"Arkansas is going to be affected pretty severely by this regulation," he says.
Leding jumped at the chance to visit with White House staff, along with other state legislators in D.C. for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"It went well," Leding says. "It was a very brief meeting. You don't get a lot of time, but there were a number of legislators there, particularly from Kentucky, that raised some pretty serious concerns."
The EPA guidelines aims to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide over the next 15 years.
"We all want cleaner air," he says. "We want to reduce these emissions."
Arkansas produces about 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions from its five coal powered plants.
"They're going to have to find ways to reduce those emissions and the administration, to its credit, is doing what it can to give flexibility to all the plants," he says. "They can find their own way to reduce their emissions."
But Leding wants to make sure plant employees don't suffer.
"Right now, the regulations are all stick," he says. "We were asking the White House for some carrots... We want to make sure that the people who work at those power plants, whose lives are going to be affected in case those plants lose jobs or shut down, have other jobs waiting for them, so we wanted to talk about economic incentives ."
Even though the meeting was brief, Leding says it was effective.
"We definitely think we delivered the right message," he says. "We're gonna stay in touch with the White House to see what they have to say in response."