Delaying Tactics

BY ON July 18, 2011

Do you remember how annoying it was when some kids in class had excuses for why they couldn’t get their homework done on time–and could they have an extension?–when the rest of us had sweated it out, and met the deadlines? No fair!

That’s how many of the responsible, reasonable–and caring–utility executives must feel these days.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners is meeting in Los Angeles July 17-20. On the schedule is a proposal (PDF here) to adopt a resolution to significantly delay long overdue protections against air pollution coming from coal-fired electric plants. You will want to borrow Joe Romm’s head vise to read their resolution.

EPA regulations have been in the works for twenty-one years. No pop quiz here. They aren’t a surprise to anyone in the electricity industry.

Delaying just two of them will result in up to 51,000 premature deaths and 520,000 more asthma attacks each year, many among children and the elderly, our most vulnerable populations. To say nothing of African American and Hispanic communities, which are disproportionately affected by air pollution.

Even major utility leaders see no reason to delay the rules. That’s because they are prepared. Joining an impressive roster of responsibility are the CEO of Wisconsin Energy, CEO of Exelon, CEO of TVA, CNO of FirstEnergy, CEO of Progress Energy, COO of Xcel Energy, CEO of Edison International, CEO of PPL Generation, COO of NRG.

Gale Klappa, Chair and CEO of Wisconsin Energy, said “We really see very little impact on customer electric rates or our capital plan…as a result of the new EPA regulations.”

Tom Kilgore TVA’s CEO, says his company will “keep bills low, keep our service reliability high and further improve air quality as we modernize the TVA power system.”

The EPA assignment isn’t unreasonable. Plenty of big utilities did the homework. On time–or ahead of time.

Delaying will cost lives. The price is too high. It is irresponsible of the commissioners. They should stop waving their hands around and get back to serious work.

And readers of Climate Progress should make their voices heard: OPPOSE THE DELAY.

TOPICS: Activism, Asthma, Coal, Economics, Mercury Poisoning, Politics, Pollution