February 11, 2009 / 10:52 PM / 10 years ago

S. Carolina Gov. opposes $2 bln coal power plant

NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - South Carolina’s governor came out against a proposed $2 billion coal-fired power plant on Wednesday because of projected extra costs for the greenhouse gas and mercury pollution it would emit.

Costs for pollution from new coal-fired power plants could be high. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week dropped a Bush administration appeal of a court decision and agreed to adopt more stringent limits on mercury from power plants.

President Barack Obama also hopes to sign legislation as soon as this year that would for the first time put a price on emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“Those forthcoming caps have not yet been factored into the cost of building and operating the plant,” Gov. Mark Sanford said in a release about his opposition to the 1,320 Megawatt Pee Dee plant the state-owned utility Santee Cooper hopes to build.

The governor said he hoped future power needs could be met by new nuclear plants.

Laura Varn, a spokewoman for Santee Cooper, said she was “disappointed” to hear of Sanford’s opposition. “We should not overlook jobs in this day and age,” she said.

The plant was expected to produce 100 full-time jobs and more than 1,000 construction jobs.

The plant received an initial air permit from state regulators in December but a hearing on an appeal will take place later this week.

Sanford appoints the board of Santee Cooper and state agencies that would regulate the plant.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio

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