WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency agreed Tuesday to give the public more time to comment on its proposed rule on carbon dioxide emissions for power plants that had been requested by a majority of the U.S. Senate.

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency agreed Tuesday to give the public more time to comment on its proposed rule on carbon dioxide emissions for power plants that had been requested by a majority of the U.S. Senate.


The 45-day extension means the public will have until Dec. 1 to comment on the rule to reduce carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants by 30 percent by 2030. EPA has set different standards for each state. Arkansas would face stricter requirements than 44 other states.


"We certainly appreciate the extra time and plan to use it wisely," said Katherine Benenati, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.


Sandra Byrd, spokeswoman for the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, said she hopes the additional time will allow regional transmission organizations to complete reliability studies on the rule.


"We’ll have more time at this point to perhaps add some additional topics to our comments, particularly if the (regional transmission organizations) can conclude some of the reliability studies that they’re doing right now on the implications of the rule," she said.


Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., was among 53 U.S. Senators who wrote EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy last week seeking a 60-day extension for public comment.


"I’ve heard from many Arkansans who need additional time to comment because of the complexity of these EPA mandates. While I joined my colleagues urging the EPA for 60 more days to comment, I’m pleased Arkansans have 45 days to tell how skyrocketing electricity costs will impact them," Boozman said Tuesday.


Boozman has strongly criticized the proposed rule saying its impact would fall hardest on "hardworking families, seniors and those struggling to make ends meet."


Boozman said that many business leaders in Arkansas are very concerned with the rule driving up the cost of electricity in the state. Five coal burning power plants provide more than half of the state’s electricity, he said.


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association said the 45-day extension would be helpful — giving them more time to analyze the impact the complex rule will have on rate payers.


"These proposed regulations are some of the most complex and far-reaching ever written. Electric cooperatives welcome the extension of the comment period to allow for more analysis of their impact on affordability and reliability," said Association CEO Jo Ann Emerson.


EPA Acting Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday the agency is still scheduled to issue a final rule by its original deadline of June 2015.