Ceres Urges EPA Not to Delay Final Implementation of its Air Toxics Rule for Electric Utilities

Aug 4, 2011 3:15 PM ET

Download Ceres’ Letter to the EPA (PDF)

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Boston, MA - August 4, 2011 - Ceres, the nation’s largest coalition of investors and public interest groups today submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging it to reduce hazardous air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants and help transition the industry toward cleaner energy resources.

Urging implementation of the air toxics rule in its current form, Ceres letter states that the rule “is needed to improve the health of American citizens; to reduce the impact of hazardous air pollutants on the environment; and to provide electric utilities with much-needed certainty as they plan for a cleaner electricity future.”   “Hands down, cleaner air is a worthwhile investment,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres. “The opportunity to improve public health while creating high-paying jobs to retrofit outdated, high-polluting power plants and build cleaner new ones – is a win-win we cannot ignore, especially while the economy struggles. Electric utilities are prepared to make billions in capital investments to clean up their fleets, but they need regulatory certainty.”   Ceres coalition member New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli added, “Damaging pollution from obsolete, inefficient power plants drives up health costs for New Yorkers and damages natural resources that New York businesses rely on.  As an investor I have urged companies that own and operate power plants to clean up their emissions, promote efficiency and develop clean renewable generation.  EPA's proposed rules to reduce emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants are an important step in developing a new clean energy economy.  Retrofitting or replacing outdated, polluting power plants with new cleaner technology will create jobs and new business opportunities.  I urge EPA to adopt its regulations without delay.”   Citing a recent Ceres report, authored by the University of Massachusetts, the comment letter highlights that this long-awaited rule will unleash billions of dollars in capital improvement investments to reduce pollution from existing power plants and build new, clean generation. These investments will create nearly 1.5 million jobs - an average of 300,000 jobs each year over the next five years - as Eisenhower-era power plants are replaced with cleaner, more-efficient capacity.   The comment letter also addresses the issue of electric system reliability, citing two recent reports, one from M.J. Bradley & Associates and Susan Tierney of the Analysis Group, and the other from the Bipartisan Policy Center, that conclude that “the electric industry is well-positioned to comply with EPA’s proposed air regulations without threatening electric system reliability.”   The EPA rule, officially known as the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Coal and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units, has been in development since December 2000. EPA is under court mandate to issue a final rule by November 16, 2011.   About Ceres Ceres leads a national coalition of major investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change and water scarcity. Its mission is integrating sustainability into day-to-day business practices for the health of the planet and its people. www.ceres.org

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