Top Obama energy officials defend climate plans in rough House hearing

|By:, SA News Editor

EPA chief Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz defended the Obama administration's climate change plans before a contentious House energy committee today, saying coal-fired power (KOL) will continue but economic growth and environmental protection go "hand in hand.”

The first step is for the EPA to issue rules for new plants, which are set to be released this week; McCarthy told the panel the agency will issue the rules for existing plants by June 2014.

Carbon capture and storage technology "is feasible and it is available today," McCarthy says, but critics say it is unproven, expensive and nonviable.

The EPA reportedly will use Southern Co.'s (SO) $4.7B Kemper plant in rural Mississippi as an example that CCS technology is ready, but so far the project is most noteworthy for a $1B cost overrun, legal battles, a revolt by ratepayers and a credit downgrade for the local utility.

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