Shock is too mild to describe my reaction to the recent front page, “La. must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40%.” In light of Louisiana’s low reliance, only 18 percent, on high-emitting coal for power-generation, the federal EPA’s 40 percent target appears arbitrary and possibly politicized.

Arbitrary, because neither the EPA nor state regulators “can provide a clear reason while Louisiana’s reduction is so large.” Come on — somebody in the EPA had to set forth this number — even if it came from a random number generator. Politicized because “all of the states (in our region) have similar questions, but got few answers.”

The start of this new EPA regulation has the same slimy feel as the ill-conceived “Cap and Trade” emissions reduction scheme that was proposed by President Barack Obama early in his first term. I say “slimy” because the allowed “caps” were to be distributed according to the political powerhouses in Congress. Powerful Democratic senators from coal states were ensured of getting high caps for coal usage. A better cure would be across-the-board reductions — the same for every state. Start out small, learn from successes and then move on. Unfortunately, too logical and not enough “under the table payoff” potential to get through Washington.

Meanwhile, The Advocate could perform a service by tabulating the carbon dioxide reduction targets for all 50 states as well as their dependence on high-emitting coal for power generation.

Let’s see where Louisiana’s 40 percent ranks relative to the others, as well as whether we can discern any logic.

Or is Louisiana’s incredible 40 percent some sort of political pay-back? At stake is not only the price we will pay for electric power, but also whether it will be available at all. Power rationing, anyone?

Arthur Weller

retired chemical engineer