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Outreach on EPA’s carbon dioxide rule continues

by on October 28, 2014

(Story by Tammy Ridout)

AEP continues to move full speed ahead on its advocacy efforts around the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, proposed in June, aims to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The proposal outlines a series of “building blocks” to meet state-level emission reduction targets set by the EPA starting in 2020.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan aims to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

“The EPA’s proposed rule is vastly different than any previous emissions reduction program in the way it is structured, and many of the assumptions the EPA made in the building blocks of the proposal are flawed,” said John McManus, vice president – Environmental Services. “We are working through every possible avenue to encourage the EPA to rework its proposed rule to include more realistic emission reduction requirements and a more reasonable timeline for compliance.”

Last month, an AEP team from the Columbus and Washington offices, led by Dennis Welch, executive vice president and chief external officer; Mark McCullough, executive vice president – Generation; Tony Kavanagh, senior vice president – Federal Affairs; Bob Bradish, vice president – Transmission Grid Development; and McManus, briefed government officials on a recent analysis conducted by AEP Transmission on the potential reliability implications of implementing the EPA’s proposal starting in 2020. The preliminary analysis indicated significant reliability concerns in the PJM Interconnection – similar to those that were recently identified by the Southwest Power Pool – that will need to be addressed.

The meetings included the following groups:

  • EPA – Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe and staff
  • FERC – Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Commissioner Tony Clark, and commission staff
  • Department of Energy – Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman and staff
  • Senate – Staff from Mitch McConnell and Joe Manchin’s offices; staff from the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Environment & Public Works Committee, and Republican Policy Committee.

“We made it clear that the current schedule for implementation of the proposed rule doesn’t allow time for the type of evaluation and mitigation that will need to happen to ensure reliability – especially as a large number of power plants are retired in the next few years and replacement generation is added to the grid,” Bradish said.

This was one of a number of efforts across the AEP system over the past several months to help regulators, policy makers and others at the state and federal levels understand the potential impact of the EPA’s proposed rule.

AEP’s operating company leaders have been active in discussions about the proposed rule with state regulatory agencies, other utility companies, lawmakers, governors, attorneys general, mayors, city councils, chambers of commerce, media, business customers, lions clubs, rotary clubs, regional transmission organizations, and many other stakeholders.

A team of AEP experts continues to develop extensive written comments that will be submitted to the EPA by the Dec. 1 comment deadline.

“If you haven’t already done so, we encourage employees to take a few minutes to submit their own comments to the EPA and Congress through AEP’s advocacy website,” McManus said. “It’s important for our employees’ voices to be heard on this issue since it will have a major impact on our business.”

Employees can visit to provide their comments through Dec. 1.

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