RALEIGH -

North Carolina's Republican-led environmental agency is criticizing the Obama administration's plan to cut carbon emissions from the nation's power plants by nearly a third by 2030.

State Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokesman Drew Elliot said the federal plan unveiled Monday would lead to lawsuits and higher electricity rates that could hurt job growth.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced individual targets for all 50 states aimed at curbing pollutants blamed for climate change. North Carolina's assigned target would require emissions reductions of nearly 40 percent from the state's power plants.

Duke Energy spokesman Chad Eaton stressed that the company has already cut its emissions by about 20 percent in recent years by investing in wind and solar projects and replacing several of its coal-fired plants with cleaner-burning natural gas.