Over the next 18 months, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a flurry of new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, coal ash: it’s all getting regulated. Industry groups such the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have dubbed the coming rules “EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck.” The regulations, they say, will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity. Given that coal provides 45 percent of the country’s power, that means higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs. The doomsday scenario has alarmed Republicans in the House, who have been scrambling to block the measures.
Wisconsin, punished for Governor Walker's stand on public service unions, is one of 26 mostly 'Red' States being hit the hardest. Two state utilities said this week new federal pollution rules will lead to higher electricity costs.
Wisconsin Public Service Corp. of Green Bay said its residential customers can expect an increase of more than $4 a month next year, including about $2 linked to the new rules designed to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants.
The utility said it would see higher costs of about $32.6 million in 2012 from the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that was finalized recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That will result in rates going up by 6.8% instead of 3.4%, the utility said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month finalized stronger regulations for Wisconsin and 26 other states aimed at curbing air pollution from long-distance sources.
The head of the Texas Public Utility Commission expressed concern Friday that a new federal air quality rule, set to take effect Jan. 1, will cause disruptions in electric service.
If implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is not delayed, "I have no doubt in my mind that this rule will result in reliability issues and rolling outages in Texas," Donna Nelson said at the start of the commission's meeting.
The rule, issued in early July by the Environmental Protection Agency, would require substantial reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide at power plants in 27 states. Source!
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