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Send your comments to the EPA

by on June 21, 2011

Yesterday, AEP kicked off a campaign to generate comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about a proposed environmental rule that could lead to the premature loss of hundreds of plant jobs and result in double-digit rate increases.

All employees and retirees are encouraged to submit comments to the EPA about the Hazardous Air Pollutants Rule (HAPs) before the comment period ends July 5, said AEP President Nick Akins. While the EPA’s options are limited because of the way

Compliance with U.S. EPA rules as currently proposed will result in the premature retirement of more than 5,900 MW of coal-fired generating capacity, along with retrofits and refueling. Sporn Plant, shown above, is one of the affected generating facilities.

the law is written and various court orders, the agency can provide more flexibility and certainty in the compliance process, Akins said.

“I want everyone to understand that we don’t oppose the Clean Air Act,” Akins said. “But we do want the EPA to develop regulations that make sense and that will allow us to comply at the least cost to our customers.”

The HAPs rule is designed primarily to control mercury emissions from power plants, but also includes acid gases and other heavy metals. When combined with other pending proposals that take effect around the same time, HAPs will force AEP to prematurely retire about 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation capacity, which will result in a net loss of about 600 jobs.

“Even though the EPA’s hands are tied regarding many aspects of the rule, we believe that the agency can craft rules that provide compliance flexibility for our smaller units that are expected to retire in the coming decade, and it can grant a one-year extension,” said John McManus, vice president of Environmental Services. Complying with the rules will require AEP to install complex pollution control systems on several plants – projects that typically take more than four years. The Clean Air Act only provides three years for compliance, but the EPA can grant an additional year.

“It’s critical that we know up front if we will have that additional year,” McManus said. “That will affect our entire schedule and give us more certainty for planning and implementing the pollution control projects. At the same time, being able to operate certain units that are scheduled to close in a few years without having to install expensive control systems to comply with the new rules will help us plan our resources and schedule construction projects.”

Employees and retirees can visit AEP’s advocacy site at http://www.capitolconnect.com/aep and use one of the prewritten letters to comment to the EPA. The letters can be edited to reflect personal comments.

“It’s important for the EPA to hear from our employees and understand how these rules will affect us and our customers,” Akins said. “We need to use every avenue we can to state our case.”

One Comment
  1. I think the EPA should hold off the the new Clean Air rules since the way our country is in bad shape and losing jobs would not do anyone any good at all. Also, raising the cost of electricity would take money out of everyones pocket which could be spend for other things to help our country get in better shape.
    Passing these new rules is a bad idea at this time in our country’d history. Please help to save jobs and money to be spend for supplies.

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