EPA smokestacks rules unwelcome, unneeded say leaders in NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Stricter carbon dioxide limits on North Carolina power plants are less demanding than other states, and the state started cutting smokestack pollution more than a decade ago, yet lawmakers are gearing up to fight the Obama administration. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday the mandate for North Carolina is moderate compared to other states. 

In part that's because the nation's largest electric company was forced to change after a 2002 state law required cleaning coal-burning power plants beyond what federal rules required. Charlotte-based Duke Energy says it's shuttered 40 older coal-burning units in the Carolinas and Midwest since 2011 as cheaper natural gas has become available.

The state Senate plans to vote Tuesday on prohibiting state agencies from implementing the rules until court challenges are resolved.