AEP spent US$2.75M in Q2 lobbying federal government on clean air and clean water rules

NEW YORK , September 30, 2011 () – American Electric Power Co. spent $2.75 million lobbying the government in the second quarter on clean air and clean water rules, according to a recent disclosure report.

That's 77 percent more than the $1.56 million the company spent in the second quarter of last year. It's 37 percent more than the $2 million company spent in the first quarter of 2011.

AEP and other electric utilities are facing a host of new and tightening environmental rules, and AEP has been lobbying to block or delay the rules, or allow companies more time to comply with them.

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of tightening clean air and clean water standards in order to reduce the amount of pollutants such as mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that utilities and others are allowed to release into the air and to reduce the amount of water the electric power industry uses to cool power plants.

Two-thirds of AEP's electric generation capacity comes from coal-fired power plants, a major source of these pollutants and large users of water.

Congress is considering a measure that would curb the EPA's ability to issue rules and force the EPA to factor in the cost of implementing rules, not just medical and scientific evidence.

AEP also lobbied the government about impending new EPA rules governing emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to climate change, which are generated in large amounts by burning coal and other fossil fuels. A 2007 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court gave EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Democrats, Republicans, industry leaders and even the EPA all agree separate legislation would be preferable but Congress has been unable to agree on new rules.

Congress is considering several measures that would either prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases or delay rules by two years.

AEP, based in Columbus, Ohio, serves 5.2 million customers in 11 states and has 80 power plants. AEP also operates the nation's largest electric transmission network. The company lobbied for changes in way the transmission lines are approved by regulators in hopes of making it easier to build lines across states.

In the April-to-June period, AEP lobbied Congress, the EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to the report filed July 18 with the House clerk's office.

Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches of government under a federal law enacted in 1995.

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