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Obama's plan to cut emissions could boost California's renewable energy sector




FILE - In this July 1, 2013, file photo,  smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont. State officials planned a public meeting Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Colstrip on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to cut greenhouse emissions. The town is home to one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the West,  a 2,100-megawatt facility that churns out more greenhouse gases than any other source in Montana. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
FILE - In this July 1, 2013, file photo, smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont. State officials planned a public meeting Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Colstrip on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to cut greenhouse emissions. The town is home to one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the West, a 2,100-megawatt facility that churns out more greenhouse gases than any other source in Montana. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
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Power plants are the top source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, and a plan released Monday by President Barack Obama and the EPA aims to make deep cuts in coming years. 

The plan outlines a 32 percent cut to carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, according to a memo from the White House released early Monday morning.

"This rule would set the first ever national limit on carbon emissions for power plants," said Cara Horowitz, co-executive director at UCLA's Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. It could also pave the way for growth in the wind and solar energy industries in California, she said.

But the plan is already coming under strong criticism from the coal industry and several GOP presidential candidates.

"There's no doubt that industry and even several to many states are going to challenge this rule in court," said Horowitz.

To listen to the full interview, click the blue audio player above.