AGs say new EPA rule would raise electricity rates

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 9, 2011


TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced on Friday that he has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a proposed new regulation that is expected to raise electricity rates.

Schmidt and eight other attorneys general wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting that she withdraw a proposed new regulation requiring utilities to use "Maximum Achievable Control Technology." The attorneys general objected to the MACT Rule on the basis that the EPA allegedly failed to follow a directive from President Obama to analyze the cumulative effects of all its proposed new regulations before imposing future regulations.

"In evaluating the proposed Utility MACT Rule, a cumulative impact analysis is especially important because of the large number of related regulations the EPA has adopted, has proposed for adoption, and/or is currently considering proposing," the attorneys general said. "In our judgment, it would be arbitrary and capricious for your agency to adopt the proposed Utility MACT Rule without conducting a cumulative impact analysis."

While the EPA did not conduct an analysis of the cumulative effect of the new regulations, a private industry group has. The analysis of the new MACT Rule, along with a separate new proposed regulation called the Transport Rule, shows that the two together would raise electricity rates on Kansans by an estimated 12.8 percent by 2016 and by as much as 23 percent in some parts of the country.

Obama ordered federal agencies, including the EPA, to consider the cumulative impact and cost of regulations they propose.

"Given this lack of compliance, we ask that your agency withdraw its proposed Utility MACT Rule, at least until such time as your agency conducts a cumulative impact analysis, as directed by the president," the attorneys general wrote.

The bipartisan letter was signed by the attorneys general from Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Guam, Florida and Arizona.

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