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Employees, retirees encouraged to support TRAIN Act

by on September 23, 2011

(Story by Chris Amatos)

Relief from new U.S. EPA regulations on coal-fueled power plants that will increase the cost of electricity and impede economic growth may come from a measure the U.S. House of Representatives will consider this week.

Relief from new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fueled power plants that will increase the cost of electricity and impede economic growth may come from a measure the U.S. House of Representatives will consider this week.

Relief from new U.S. EPA regulations on coal-fueled power plants that will increase the cost of electricity and impede economic growth may come from a measure the U.S. House of Representatives will consider this week.

The House is scheduled to vote on the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act late this week, according to Tony Kavanagh, AEP senior vice president of AEP’s Washington office. Kavanagh is asking AEP employees and advocates to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to support the bill’s passage.

“This bill will require the EPA and other federal agencies to complete a study about the impact of the EPA’s recent environmental regulations that affect coal-fired power plants. The EPA will need to study how the rules will affect power prices, employment, grid reliability, fuel prices and the nation’s competitiveness before the rules can take effect,” Kavanagh explained.

“We support the Clean Air Act, but the EPA’s new rules don’t provide sufficient time for companies operating coal-fueled plants to make the needed upgrades or coordinate the construction of new generating units with the retirement of older generating units so that grid reliability can be maintained,” he said.

Employees and retirees can contact their members of Congress at www.capitolconnect.com/aep and use one of the pre-written letters or write their own. The site will automatically match the employee or retiree to his or her congressman based on the employee’s home address.

The TRAIN Act was put on this week’s agenda late last week. If it passes the Republican-dominated House, it will face a tougher challenge in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. Final action on the measure may not occur until late in the year.

Among the rules targeted are the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, previously known as the Clean Air Transport Rule, enacted in July, and the proposed Hazardous Air Pollutants Rule, which is scheduled to be finalized in November. AEP announced in June that it would have to close about 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity, spend $6 billion to $8 billion for pollution control equipment and new capacity, and increase rates from 10 percent to 35 percent to comply with the two rules. The rules would also result in the loss of about 600 jobs prematurely.

AEP’s compliance plan was based on the Transport Rule, the precursor to the Cross-State Rule. The Cross-State Rule ultimately was stricter than the Transport Rule and included Texas, which was not part of the original proposal. Some provisions of the Cross-State rule begin in 2012, giving companies just a few months to comply. New cost estimates are being developed.

From → Advocacy

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