Saturday, August 20, 2011

Environmental Protection Agency vs. Coal Plants - #3182 - U.S. Set for Wave of Coal Power Plant Shut Downs - Washington Post (2) EPA Crackdown - Utilities Warn of Higher Rates Because of Pollution Rules - Milwaukee - Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (3) Energy Prices Already on Rise - U.S. July Consumer Price Index Report - Bloomberg (4) Texas Prepares for Rolling Blackouts - Star Telegraph

Over the next 18 months, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a flurry of new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, coal ash—it’s all getting regulated. And, not surprisingly, some lawmakers are grumbling. Industry groups such the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have dubbed the coming rules “EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck.” The regulations, they say, will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity. Given that coal provides 45 percent of the country’s power, that means higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs. The doomsday scenario has alarmed Republicans in the House, who have been scrambling to block the measures. Environmental groups retort that the rules will bring sizeable public health benefits, and that industry groups have been exaggerating the costs of environmental regulations since they were first created.  Read more.......

EPA Crackdown - Utilities Warn of Higher Rates Because of Pollution Rules - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel - Two state utilities said this week new federal pollution rules will lead to higher electricity costs come January.  Wisconsin Public Service Corp. of Green Bay said its residential customers can expect an increase of more than $4 a month next year, including about $2 linked to the new rules designed to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants.  The utility said it would see higher costs of about $32.6 million in 2012 from the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that was finalized recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That will result in rates going up by 6.8% instead of 3.4%, the utility said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month finalized stronger regulations for Wisconsin and 26 other states aimed at curbing air pollution from long-distance sources.  Read more........



Energy Prices Already on the Rise - July Consumer Price Index Report - Bloomberg - Following is the text of the July consumer prices from the Labor Department. Consumer Price Index - July 2011 - The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.  The gasoline index rebounded from previous declines and rose sharply in July, accounting for about half of the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index. The food at home index accelerated in July and also contributed to the increase, as dairy and fruit indexes posted notable increases and five of the six major grocery store food groups rose.  The index for all items less food and energy increased as well, though the 0.2 percent increase was slightly smaller than the two previous months. The shelter index accelerated in July, and the apparel index again increased sharply.  Read more.........

Texas Prepares for Rolling Blackouts - Star Telegram - The head of the Texas Public Utility Commission expressed concern Friday that a new federal air quality rule, set to take effect Jan. 1, will cause disruptions in electric service. If implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is not delayed, "I have no doubt in my mind that this rule will result in reliability issues and rolling outages in Texas," Donna Nelson said at the start of the commission's meeting. The rule, issued in early July by the Environmental Protection Agency, would require substantial reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide at power plants in 27 states.  Read more........

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