A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.

The measure (Senate Bill 650) by Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, is a reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to release new carbon dioxide emission regulations by June as part of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan.

Under the bill, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality would be in charge of implementing a state plan to meet new regulations by setting the standards and pace for measuring emissions.

Walsworth said that the new regulations could hurt Louisiana by causing the coal industry to increase rates, which he said would hurt the vulnerable the most since many depend on coal-powered energy. He said the state can avoid that by allowing DEQ to implement a flexible plan to meet the federal requirements.

The bill is supported by the coal industry, but opposed by the Sierra Club and the Alliance for Affordable Energy for environmental concerns.

The proposal moves next to the House for consideration.

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