FRANKFORT, Ky. (6/10/13) – U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, today announced that his subcommittee has requested an explanation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding a proposed rule change under the agency’s regional haze program.
According to Whitfield, the proposed change requires Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station (NGS) to install Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) Technology that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to implement without any conclusive evidence of whether doing so would even be effective in achieving the EPA’s desired result.
“The best way to deal with the electricity challenges of today and tomorrow is to expand the options available, not to reduce them,” stated Whitfield. “That is why I believe that EPA’s regulatory assault on coal here in Kentucky and across the country is bad policy. Coal is the leading source of electricity generation in the U.S., and it certainly remains the fastest-growing source of energy for China and many of our other global competitors. We gain nothing when we foreclose the option of new coal-fired generation by regulating it out of existence through burdensome new EPA regulations.”
The NGS is the largest coal-fired power plant in the western United States in terms of generating capacity. It powers the Central Arizona Project that delivers 1.5 million acre-feet per year of the Colorado River water from western Arizona to agriculture users in central Arizona, Indian tribes located in Arizona, and municipal water users in several counties. Additionally, coal used by NGS is supplied by the Kayenta Mine located on reservations lands. Collectively, NGS and the mine employ hundreds of workers.
“We have been concerned about the impacts of EPA’s suite of power sector rules on access to affordable and reliable electricity, and on jobs and the economy,” stated Chairman Whitfield in his subcommittee’s letter to the EPA. “EPA’s rationale for its proposed rule, which has been estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and potentially to exceed $1 billion, is to improve visibility at national parks in Arizona and surrounding areas. The rule threatens continued operation of the NGS without commensurate visibility benefits.”
In expressing his skepticism of the need for the EPA’s proposed rule change, Whitfield cites the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s comments stating that research is inconclusive on whether or not the EPA’s proposed rule change to NGS would lead to any noticeable improvement to the area.
Whitfield’s subcommittee has previously conducted oversight relating to the potential impacts of EPA regulations on power plants throughout the United States, including the impact of rules implementing their regional haze program. Chairman Whitfield has requested an explanation from the EPA to be provided no later than June 21, 2013.
Information provided by Chris Pack
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