CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) -- The Obama administration is mandating a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030, despite reports that the regulation will cost nearly a quarter of a million jobs a year and force plants across the country to close.
TVA is at the heart of that effort to close coal-fired plants.
BILL JOHNSON, PRES. & CEO, TVA " Last year, and the EPA has been open and transparent about this..been out talking to everybody ...so its no surprise to us at all."
TVA now runs 11 coal-fired plants, and has been concentrating on cutting carbon emissions since 2005.
They are already down about 30 percent and could be down to 40% in 6 years.
BILL JOHNSON, TVA "We've been in the process of evaluating all of our coal plants..we've closed a few. We will continue to close the ones we've announced..we have a couple we're assessing."
The numbers may not make much of an impact on residents of southeast Tennessee.
We have two nuclear plants and several hydro facilities carrying the load.
But the air pollution control bureau says the move is important.
BOB COLBY, DIRECTOR, CHATTANOOGA/HAMILTON CO. AIR POLLUTION CONTROL BUREAU "Actually its going to have a positive effect on us here...air pollution , of course, knows no boundaries, it travels hundreds of miles."
Coal and Fossil fuel are about 30 percent of TVA's energy. It will have to be made-up somewhere else.
BILL JOHNSON, CEO , TVA "We've added significant gas plants,we're building the 21st century's very first nuclear Watts Bar. Energy efficiency will play a big role..people are using less and using more wisely."
Johnson says it remains to be seen what will happen to electric rates.
Colby predicts there will also be an economic impact.
BOB COLBY "With programs like that its going to be more costly to produce electricity and ratepayers in those areas that are affected are going to pay more for their electricity."
The Energy department predicts retail power prices will rise 4% on average this year.
The states have until June 30th of 2016 to come up with a plan to reduce emissions.
If they don't the EPA will make one for them.
(Story Assistance-WVLT-TV Knoxville)