Thursday, May 24, 2012

Envrios claim EPA is giving 'dirty diesel' a free pass

The green trio of PennFuture, Sierra Club, and NRDC today blasted new rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The activists say the rules create loopholes for dirty diesel and gas electricity generators, allowing them to avoid installing pollution controls for toxic and other air pollution emissions.

"These proposed rules sacrifice local air quality and public health, distort energy markets, and could endanger electricity reliability in our region," said Christina Simeone, director of the PennFuture Energy Center, a program of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future. 

Several years ago, EPA adopted rules limiting the amount of toxic air emissions -- like formaldehyde and benzene -- that are released from small diesel and gas-fired generators. 

In a news release the organizations say that EPA is now proposing to allow dirty generators to increase by six times the number of hours they may operate in electricity planning programs without any pollution controls.

"EPA's proposal would create a loophole allowing dirty generators to participate in profitable electricity market programs, giving them additional revenue while avoiding life-saving pollution controls," said Courtney Lane, senior policy analyst at PennFuture.

"The loophole in these rules could result in reduced reliability and will result in increased air pollution, by making the electricity system more dependent on small, dirty sources of electricity. Closing this loophole will send market signals to invest in cleaner generation and conservation while better protecting Americans' health," said John Walke, clean air director and senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

"Nobody gets a free pass," said Mark Kresowik, eastern region deputy director for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "Even the local operators of the electric grid say that our energy supply is secure. Don't tell mothers that the only way to ensure a stable electric supply is to put their kids' health in danger... The technologies exist to reduce this pollution, and that's why EPA should close the loophole." 

Do you agree?  Is there another side to the story?  Tell us what you think in the box below. If one isn't visible, activate it by clicking on the tiny 'comments' line. 

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