The majority of Americans agree that action must be taken to limit greenhouse gases from power plants, even if it means higher electricity costs, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. Those in support include people in coal country.

The battle over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan began long before it was officially unveiled last week. So it came as no surprise when Ohio on Aug. 5 joined 14 other states to fight the implementation of new federal regulations to reduce power-plant emissions.

Like most of the others challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we are a coal-producing state. Coal stands to lose under the new rules, which require states to reduce power plant carbon emissions 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.  The president called the plan “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.”

The majority of Americans agree that action must be taken to limit greenhouse gases from power plants, even if it means higher electricity costs, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. Those in support include people in coal country.

Here’s what those fighting the regulations seem to be missing. The Clean Power Plan doesn’t tell states what and how to cut. The plan gives states flexibility to come up with their own solutions, with the initial plans due in 2016 and the final ones in 2018.

Yes, Ohio is a coal-producing state. But coal has proven to be harmful to our environment. Coal-fired plants are the largest source of the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. Ohio’s power plants produce the fourth most emissions per year, according to U.S. EPA data. The tide, however, has long been turning away from coal.

Ohio gets that it is not just a coal-producing state.  We now are also a natural gas producer. The U.S. shale gas boom here in Ohio and surrounding states and elsewhere has lowered natural gas prices. Natural gas, in fact, passed coal in April as the dominant fuel for electric power generation in this country for the first time in history, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Ohio also is a wind and solar energy manufacturer. We now are a national leader in the production of clean energy technologies, ranking first for the number of facilities manufacturing wind components and second for the number of solar equipment providers as of 2013, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Green energy is getting cheaper and may one day make the whole debate moot. In the meantime, a mix of energy sources — with far less coal — ought to be embraced.

There are those who argue that U.S. emissions are a drop in the global bucket. But what we do matters to the rest of the world. If we want to have a cleaner planet, we won’t get there pointing fingers.

It’s time for the United States to lead.

Ohio was on its way to forging a greener path with its renewable energy mandates. Those were frozen last year and the Legislature is taking another look. The federal mandates ought to provide plenty of incentive for Ohio to renew its renewable portfolio.