Utility Eyes National Security Exemption for EPA Rule

“Industry sources said that the Clean Air Act provision has never been used.”

The National Journal reports:

A major utility is considering asking the Obama administration to invoke a rarely used statutory tool that grants companies more time to comply with clean-air rules if the country’s national security is at risk.

Thomas Farrell, CEO of Virginia-based Dominion, told National Journal on the sidelines of a major energy conference here that it is planning on retiring a coal-fired plant in Virginia to comply with Environmental Protection Agency clean-air rules, primarily the recently finalized mercury standards for power plants.

The Clean Air Act gives companies three years to comply with that rule, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said that many companies would be able to easily get one more year to comply, which is allowed by the law.

A rarely — if ever — used provision in the Clean Air Act would allow President Obama to issue an executive order that exempts a company from any EPA rule for at least two years “if the President determines that the technology to implement such standard is not available and that it is in the national security interests of the United States to do so,” as the law states. This provision also states that the exemption “may be extended for 1 or more additional periods”…

Read the entire report.