U.S. EPA could grant power plants year-long extension on new air pollution restrictions on case-by-case basis; AEP, Southern sought blanket delay

LOS ANGELES , November 29, 2011 () – Power plants may be granted an additional year to meet new air pollution restrictions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through an application process if the White House approves the rule, Bloomberg reported Nov. 28.

AEP and Southern Co., who say the restrictions will force them to lay off workers and close down multiple power plants if they must comply with tougher emissions limits by 2015, asked for a blanket delay on the regulations. But, according to an unnamed source, the EPA instead is looking at a case-by-case basis implementation of the extension as a way of ensuring uninterrupted electricity from the coal-burning power plants that need extra time to install emissions-restricting measures — efforts the EPA insists will create jobs and save lives.

The rule, which the EPA says will cost US$11 billion, will take effect in 2015 if approved by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

AEP contends it will have to close 11 power plants in whole or in part, spend $8 billion and cut 600 positions if the EPA regulations are accepted. Southern Co.’s chief operating officer said in written testimony his company needed a minimum of six years to meet the stricter standards.

The primary source of this article is Bloomberg, London, England, November 28, 2011.

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