By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators said on Tuesday they wanted more public input on certain aspects of a sweeping plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and about the role natural gas can play to achieve emission cuts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified areas of concern raised by "multiple stakeholders" since it unveiled its proposed regulations in June, and hopes to get additional input before its public comment period ends on Dec. 1.
The plan called for the U.S. power sector to slash carbon emissions from 2005 levels. Each state was given an individual goal and asked to craft its own strategy for compliance.
The agency noted three main themes based on the early comments it received from states and utilities: the time frame it proposed for states to meet EPA-set goals; the proposal's impact on flexibility and cost; and "unwanted effects" that may arise from the differences among state goals.
EPA Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe told reporters that the agency wanted to encourage states to offer comment on those specific issues, in addition to other concerns, by Dec. 1 because they were not specifically laid out in the agency's proposal.
"We wanted to address issues where the feedback we were getting went beyond what we laid out in the preamble (of the Clean Power Plan)," McCabe said.
Potential changes to any of the issues addressed in its notice could change the stringency of the emission reduction goals in the final rule, which is expected to be completed by next June, she said.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Ros Krasny, Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)