CHICAGO - Exelon applauds the EPA for staying on track to finalize a Clean Air Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that is guided by sound science and human health benefits. The rule's implementation will achieve important air quality, health, and economic benefits that far outweigh its compliance costs.
Today, harmful emissions, primarily from coal-fired power plants that have failed to install pollution controls, are carried hundreds of miles in the airstream causing health and economic losses in dozens of states in the Eastern U.S. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is designed to address this issue and require "upwind" states to stop interfering with the ability of "downwind" states to meet national air quality standards.
This rule has been in the works for more than a decade, and the electric industry is well positioned to respond, with more than 60 percent of coal-fired plants already equipped with pollution controls. Numerous studies have indicated that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will not impact the reliability of the electric system.
The final rule uses free market mechanisms and allows states to decide how best to protect the 240 million Americans impacted by dangerous downwind pollution in the most cost-effective manner possible. It allows air-quality-assured allowance trading among power plants in the same program in the same or different states, utilizing an allowance market infrastructure based on existing, successful allowance trading programs. It will also level the playing field for power plants that are already controlling these emissions by requiring others to do the same.
"Together with the Utility Toxics Rule, EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule provides the regulatory certainty needed for companies to make the substantial capital investments that will create jobs and boost the economy," said Joseph Dominguez, Senior Vice President, Federal Regulatory Affairs, Exelon. "We are pleased that EPA adopted the industry's suggestion to use existing market mechanisms to allow for the most cost-effective compliance. Given the dramatic reductions in the cost of electricity made from newly discovered, domestic natural gas, we continue to expect that 2015-2016 wholesale electricity prices will be lower in the regions that we serve than they were before the recession in 2008. With each passing day it becomes clearer that this industry can achieve compliance with EPA's new air pollution rules and create jobs without forcing Americans to choose between clean air and affordable electricity."