Thursday, April 28, 2011

AEP admits it wrote dirty-air bill

an excerpt from Greenwire:

AIR POLLUTION: American Electric Power seeking legislation to delay EPA regulations (04/28/2011)

The largest coal-burning utility in the United States is shopping a bill to lawmakers that would delay a host of environmental regulations, including forthcoming U.S. EPA rules for mercury and other toxic emissions, as well as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and coal ash.

American Electric Power Co. Inc. has written legislative language at the request of lawmakers who represent states where it operates coal-fired power plants, including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), company spokeswoman Melissa McHenry said...

The proposal would give utilities more time to comply with the rules for mercury and other air toxics, which were proposed last month, as well as the Clean Air Transport Rule, which addresses soot- and smog-forming emissions that cross state lines. Power plants would need to cut their emissions or shut down by 2020, rather than 2014 and 2015, when the two rules would take effect...

Legislation aimed at EPA's new air pollution rules is also being crafted by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), though no bill has been finalized.

Robert Sumner, a Whitfield spokesman, said he and his staff often discuss those issues with the companies that would be affected, but "should the [Energy and Commerce] committee elect to take up this issue, members of the committee -- not outside organizations -- will be responsible for drafting that legislation."

The pending legislation drew criticism from environmental groups. Though the two pollution rules would cost power companies tens of billions of dollars, they would also save thousands of lives per year, according to EPA estimates...

"It's clearly a well-thought-out bill but awful for clean air," said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.

Such a bill could be meant for "home-state consumption," he said. Working to keep coal-fired power plants open would be a résumé-builder for lawmakers like Manchin, who needs to run for re-election in 2012 after winning his seat in a special election last fall.

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