Electric Utilities Back State's Challenge of Federal Air Pollution Rules

TAMPA (2011-10-11) -

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has joined 24 other states in challenging proposed federal air pollution standards. And now some local power companies are now backing the move.

The federal EPA was set to enact its first-ever national standards for mercury emissions from coal and oil-fired power plants. Florida's generators would have had to reduce their emissions of nitrogen oxides, or ozone. Long-term exposure to ozone has been shown to increase respiratory illnesses and deaths.

Progess Energy spokesman Scott Sutton says says EPA proposed rules are much stricter than what the company anticipated.

"In fact, it included a 50 percent decrease in the amount of emissions allocated to the state of Florida," says Sutton. "And so we support the attorney general in her efforts to have the EPA revisit the rule, in order to make sure that there's enough time to do public comment, since it was such a dramatic change from when it was first proposed."

Sutton says the Progress Energy has already installed about one billion dollars' worth of equipment intended to decrease air emissions from its Florida power plants. He says any further costs of reducing air pollution would have to be passed on to the utility's customers.

For more information on the EPA's proposed Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, click here.

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