EPA Delays Carbon Dioxide Rule Until Sometime This Summer

For the past year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working on new rules to regulate the carbon dioxide emissions of power plants as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

The agency expected to finalize its highly controversial carbon dioxide standards for new units on January 8, and for existing units on June 1.
EPA will postpone these rules until sometime “mid-summer,” Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said in a conference call with reporters.

The agency did not provide a specific date for the final rules.

NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson said EPA should use the extra time to study the 1.2 million comments that flooded the agency from advocates for electric cooperatives concerned about the proposals’ impact on affordable, reliable electricity.

During many Kentucky electric cooperative annual meetings this past summer tables were set up where cooperative members could sign cards provided by Action.coop to send to the EPA urging them to keep affordability in mind when proposing new regulations that will affect electric co-op power bills. Co-ops also made the cards available at co-op offices and during member appreciation days as well as putting the message on T-shirts.

As of December 2014, Kentucky co-ops had sent almost 16,300 cards to the EPA helping to raise the overall number of cards sent from co-ops across the nation to the 1.2 million.
A recent study, entitled Energy Market Impacts of Recent Federal Regulations on the Electric Power Sector, was released by Energy Ventures Analysis, a Virginia-based firm that has provided market analyses of the energy industry since 1981.

The study looked at the impacts of the proposed regulations on individual states. In Kentucky, the average residential electric utility bill is projected to increase by $450 a year if the proposed regulations go into effect.

EPA’s Janet McCabe also said the proposed rules targeting emissions from coal-based power plants attracted more than 4 million public comments.

EPA is also preparing a federal “model” plan to comply with the regulations although the agency has a “strong preference” for states to draft and submit their own implementation plans to meet the new emissions limits, McCabe said.

Information gathered from ECT.coop and Jackson Energy