BENTZ CHALLENGES EPA’S CROSS STATES AIR POLLUTION RULE

Mississippi Public Service Commission
LEONARD L. BENTZ, COMMISSIONER
1-800-356-6429
MEDIA ADVISORY September 15, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BENTZ CHALLENGES EPA’S CROSS STATES AIR POLLUTION RULE

Bentz Authorizes Legal Staff to File for Immediate Relief
Jackson, Mississippi – Today, Commissioner Leonard Bentz authorized the PSC legal staff to take immediate action against the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, asking the Public Service Commission legal staff to file for immediate legal relief before the EPA and The Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia no later than October 7, 2011.
Commissioner Bentz also instructed staff to work with all stakeholders, including all public utilities, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, MDEQ and other states.
“One way or another, this latest, unrealistic move by the EPA imposes significant financial costs onto the customer through their utility bill each month, or causes their electricity to be unreliable. Either is unacceptable, and I am adamantly opposed.” Bentz added.
In July, the EPA issued The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which will require Mississippi utility companies to limit their nitric oxide (NOx) emissions even further and even sooner, or face possible criminal penalties if the companies violate the rule knowingly or willingly. Under the new Rule, Mississippi utility companies must now reduce their emission by May 2012, moved up from 2014.
Options for the Utility companies include reducing emissions by upgrading equipment, purchasing credits or shutting down electric generating plants completely.
“Companies can install new and expensive controls that reduce emissions a little, but even if this were implemented, new equipment can’t even be built in that timeframe because the deadline have been moved up,” Bentz added.
“Another unworkable option allowed by the EPA, is buying allowances or “credits” on the market from other states. However, most states have had their allowances reduced and there are no allowances to purchase,” Bentz said. “The numbers don’t even remotely add up. The EPA’s fact finding is limited at best.”
If neither option is available, the utility company would have to shut down that power generating plant. Electricity would have to be bought from other sources and, causing possible periodic outages due to unreliability.
The EPA estimates that the proposed rule will cost about $800 million annually plus an additional $1.6 billion per year for new equipment.
“If utility companies can’t take on the burden that this Rule places on them, plants will shut down and the customer loses, and that is detrimental,” Bentz said.

LEONARD L. BENTZ, COMMISSIONER
1-800-356-6429
Page 2

The Rule is intended to improve air quality by reducing nitric oxide that is created when utility plants generate electricity, but will inevitably cost the customer.
Last week the five elected members of the Louisiana PSC voted unanimously to petition the EPA, asking to re-consider the particulars of the rules and file for legal relief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Background: The “Clean Air Transport Rule,” also once called the “The Clean Air Act,” was renamed the “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule,” It replaces a set of 2005 Bush administration regulations that were struck down by the courts.
Anyone who has additional questions or comments about this or other utilities may Commissioner Bentz’s office at 1-800-356-6429.
Commissioner Bentz’s office may also be contacted via email to southern.district@psc.state.ms.us, or by mail to the following address:
Commissioner Leonard L. Bentz
Mississippi Public Service Commission
P.O. Box 1174 Jackson, MS 39215-1174

 

 

Bentz Challeneges EPAs Cross State Air Pollution Rule

 

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