SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California regulators
approved rules Thursday banning power companies
from buying electricity from high-polluting
sources, including most out-of-state coal-burning
plants. The rules _ aimed at reducing emissions of
heat-trapping gases linked to global warming _
could have a far-reaching effect on the energy
market across the West.
While there are almost no coal-fired plants in
California, the nation's most populous state,
about 20 percent of the state's electricity comes
from coal plants in other Western states.
The Public Utilities Commission voted 4-0 to
prohibit utilities and other energy providers from
entering into long-term contracts with sources
that emit more carbon dioxide than a modern
natural gas plant.
The new standard is aimed at encouraging
investment in cleaner energy sources such as wind
and solar, while discouraging the use of coal and
other high-polluting fuels.
Coal is cheap and plentiful but releases high
levels of carbon dioxide, a gas blamed for
trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere and
raising temperatures worldwide.
The rule is expected to take effect Feb. 1.
A landmark global warming bill Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger signed into law last year required
the commission to adopt emissions standards for