Energy companies react to proposed EPA toxics rule
The Toxics Rule will, for the first time, set federal limits for hazardous air emissions from coal-fired plants that EPA identified as posing serious health effects and harm to the environment
Washington, D.C., March 17, 2011 — A group of energy companies —Calpine Corp., Constellation Energy, Exelon Corp., PG&E Corp., Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc.,and Seattle City Light — congratulates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on today's release of its proposed rule to establish National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Electric Utility Generators.
This rule — known as the "Toxics Rule" — will, for the first time, set federal limits for hazardous air emissions from coal-fired plants that EPA identified as posing serious health effects and harm to the environment.
For over a decade, operators of coal-fired generation have known that pollution controls would be required to comply with Clean Air Act requirements to reduce hazardous air emissions like mercury, hydrochloric acid and arsenic. Most of the industry has been preparing for the rule by investing in modern pollution controls and cleaner, more efficient power plants.
"We recently completed the installation of a major air quality control system, including scrubbers, baghouse, and other equipment at one of our major coal facilities in Maryland," said Paul Allen, senior vice president and chief environmental officer of Constellation Energy. "These systems work effectively and result in dramatically lower emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and acid gases. We know from experience that constructing this technology can be done in a reasonable time frame, especially with good advance planning; and there is meaningful job creation associated with the projects."
"While we are still evaluating the rule, we believe the Toxics Rule can be achieved in a cost-effective manner while maintaining the reliability of the electric system," said Anne Hoskins, Public Service Enterprise Group's senior vice president for public affairs and sustainability. "The industry has had more than enough time to study and prepare for these requirements. We support the EPA's efforts to finalize the rule in order to reap the significant public health benefits as indicated by the Agency's analysis. There ought to be no further delay."
The Toxics Rule will fulfill a requirement established by Congress in the 1990 amendments to the CAA to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants. EPA recently published a peer-reviewed study that estimates that between 1990 and 2020, the Clean Air Act will provide over $2 trillion in benefits and save over 2 million lives.