"New Air Quality Rules for Power Plants in Dispute"

"The Obama administration said Thursday that a series of new air pollution rules for power plants would not cause power shortages, although the expert panel designated by the government to ensure electricity reliability warns that compliance with these rules could strain generating capacity.

The Environmental Protection Agency, under fire from the utility industry and from Republicans in Congress for what they call excessive regulation, has sent signals that it will be flexible in applying the new rules and may grant extensions or exemptions to make sure the lights stay on.

The Department of Energy said Thursday that under two major E.P.A. air quality rules that are supposed to be made final in the next few weeks, the amount of generating capacity would still be adequate if power companies and regulators were “prompt” in seeking replacements for plants shuttered because they could not meet the new pollution standards.

House Republicans are seeking delays in some of the rules, which affect both air pollutants and power plant cooling water. This year, in the face of political opposition and high cost estimates, the White House backed off on new smog rules, which would also have affected power plants.

In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, an assistant administrator of the E.P.A. took the unusual step of casting doubt on the work of the group designated by the government to enforce rules on the power grid, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, for saying that a water rule still under development could force enough plant closings to cause power shortages in Texas and New England."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times December 2, 2011.


"Energy Defends Air Pollution Regulations, Says New Rules Won’t Crash Power Grid" (E2 Wire/The Hill)

"Would EPA Air-Pollution Rules Lead To Massive Blackouts? Feds Weigh In." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Dominion Chief Urges More Time to Comply With EPA Air Rule" (Bloomberg)

"Once More, From the Top: Shutting Down Dirty Coal Plants Won’T Cause Blackouts" (Grist)

"OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Fight Over EPA Rules and Reliability Heating Up" (E2 Wire/The Hill)

"New EPA Rules Split Power Industry" (Wall St. Journal)

"EPA Power Plant Rules Will Boost Supply Chains and Create Jobs, Group Says" (fuelfix)

"EPA Ignores Blackout Concerns, Senators Say" (Tulsa World)

"Report Raises Concerns About Future Electric Reliability in Texas" (fuelfix)

"Utilities, RTOs Seek More Time To Comply With EPA Rules, Ensure Reliability" (Platts)

"US Clean Air Rules Will Not Harm Power Grid -- DOE" (Reuters)

"Will the Lights Stay On in Texas and New England?" (Green/NYT)

"EPA: New Rules Limiting Pollution Will Not Cause Power Outages" (E2 Wire/The Hill)

Source: NY Times, 12/02/2011