On January 24, 2012, Gene Trisko, the General Counsel to Unions for Jobs and The Environment, made a presentation to the UJAE Board of Directors, which analyzed the basis and effect of USEPA’s final utility MACT and CSAPR rules. UJAE is an association of 12 national labor unions, including IBW, Mine Workers, Boilermakers, Utility Workers and most other coal related energy unions. For a copy of Trisko’s presentation, click here.

Key points raised by this presentation are:

(1) The MACT standards for future plants are supposed to reflect the performance of a group of best performing plants; however, the final MACT standards for new plants are so stringent that coal is effectively eliminated as a fuel option for future generation. This portion of the presentation was based on the comments of American Electric Power submitted on August 4, 2001 with respect to the proposed MACT rule, which analyzed new coal units built since 2001 and determined that based on air permit limits for these 40 newest units, none could meet all of the new source standards. For a copy of AEP’s comments, click here.

(2) Relying on air quality monitoring data, prepared for the Midwest Ozone Group, Trisko presented slides that showed that the air quality objectives of the CSAPR rule have already been achieved by the states. For a copy of the data of the Midwest Ozone Group, click here. In December 2001, environmental commissioners for the states of West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas prepared an op ed piece which stated that the CSAPR rule wasn’t needed to address interstate transport. For a copy of the op ed published in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on December 22, 2001, click here.

EPA has published job and plant retirement figures that are subject to significant doubt. EPA’s regulatory impact statement indicated that the utility MACT rule would create between 31,000 and 40,000 construction jobs and that plant closures would be 4.7 GW. The most recent estimate by the Edison Electric Institute, however indicates that plant closures related to this rule should be on the order of 50 GW.

This article was authored by David M. Flannery, Jackson Kelly PLLC. For more information on the author see here.

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