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Representatives of 15 states have signed a petition submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking for assurance that the progress they have made in cutting down carbon emissions will be acknowledged in the future EPA regulation on the matter, Bloomberg reported.

The petition, signed by California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, claims that the states are already implementing programs that effectively reduce carbon emissions from power plants. It is evident from the states' efforts that a range of methods can be deployed to achieve this, the letter to EPA said. The federal agency will have to develop a flexible but tight regulatory regime that would reduce the U.S. carbon footprint just as effectively, it added.

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The EPA was ordered to develop rules that will put a cap on carbon emissions from power plants in a way that will ensure that the United States is able to meet its carbon footprint reduction goals. Power plants account for about 40 percent of the total carbon emissions in the country and according to President Obama's climate change program, greenhouse-gas emissions have to be cut by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

In their petition, the 15 states explain that by 2011 they had already managed to cut emissions by 20 percent from the levels recorded in 2005. They urge the EPA to place a cap on power-plant emissions that would lead to a reduction greater than 17 percent because cuts in other areas will be more difficult.