Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held a hearing on Utility MACT regulations, specifically focused on the oversight of the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMIR).
The Committee heard from Ms. Barbara Walz, the Senior Vice President for Policy and Environment at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., based in Westminster Colorado. Her testimony focused on the concerns a major utility provider, such as Tri-State has with the aggressive regulations the EPA has proposed.
Ms. Walz highlighted that these regulations are unachievable, and would raise the cost of energy for consumers and manufacturers. She stated:
Although the economy is still recovering, Tri-State member system demand for energy continues to increase about 3-4% per year. Therefore, Tri-State needs to plan for new generation stations and continues to look at all fuel options with a focus on affordable, reliable electricity that is environmentally sound. Under the proposed MACT rule, new coal units can NOT be constructed to meet the MACT standards due to the fact that technology does not exist to meet limits, vendors will not give guarantees to meet limits, and financial institutions will not support new projects that are not able to ensure compliance with environmental rules.
While Tri-State continues to make advancements in renewable energy, such as solar, wind, natural gas and hydro-power, the company points to coal as the most cost effective and reliable source to meet their customers’ needs.
Ms. Walz concluded:
Tri-State supports good environmental regulations, but, firmly believes that the MACT rule goes beyond EPA authority and over-regulates coal fired power plants. Existing Tri-State stations generally meet the mercury emission limits in the MACT rule through co-benefits of existing controls. We believe that the proposed rules for the Utility MACT are not reasonable, are not based on sound practices of data quality and are not readily achievable using generally available emission control technologies, especially for new units.
To view the entirety of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s testimony, please click here.