Arrogance: EPA’s McCarthy says power companies can make mercury deadline

Because EPA and McCarthy have so much experience generating and transmitting electricity?

AOL Energy reports,

The Environmental Protection Agency will work with generators, especially public power agencies, that have difficulty meeting new mercury reduction deadlines, but doubts many will need more time, says Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Speaking to a breakfast hosted by ICF International in Washington Thursday, McCarthy defended EPA’s decision to stick with a three-year compliance deadline in its final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule issued December 21.

Plant owners must decide whether it’s more cost-effective to retrofit old coal- and oil-burning units with control technology, or replace them with less polluting plants, and comply by 2015. About a third of US coal capacity has been “grandfathered” under other clean air rules and has no pollution controls, but all plants must comply with MATS, in development over the last decade.

McCarthy said “dozens” of coal generating plants already meet the requirements, so technology is available, and the rule lets states give facilities a fourth year for compliance if there are delays in procuring or installing equipment. The rule includes an administrative order setting out how plants may get a fifth year if the delay affects grid reliability.

Industry Warnings

The power industry has been protesting the compliance time is too short. Edison Electric Institute President and CEO Thomas Kuhn told a US Energy Association forum in Washington Wednesday that power facilities simply need longer time lines than three years for large capital investments.

Mark Crisson, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association, called the deadlines “onerous.” He said, “Our members have unique requirements” for major expenditures, such as holding voter referenda to obtain financing, and many have few facilities, so shutdowns impact cost and reliability.

For more on dire predictions from the power industry on new emissions compliance deadlines, read a post from AOL Energy on the potential for rolling blackouts here

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