The head of the Texas Public Utility Commission expressed concern Friday that a new federal air quality rule, set to take effect Jan. 1, will cause disruptions in electric service.
If implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is not delayed, "I have no doubt in my mind that this rule will result in reliability issues and rolling outages in Texas," Donna Nelson said at the start of the commission's meeting.....The rule, issued in early July by the Environmental Protection Agency, would require substantial reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide at power plants in 27 states.
The EPA says the rule will save and prolong lives by reducing harmful smog and soot pollution. Gina McCarthy, an EPA assistant administrator, said in a previous statement that power plants in the state "will be able to cut their pollution without jeopardizing reliable electricity service for Texans."
But Dallas-based power generator Luminant says it doesn't have enough time to comply and has asked that the EPA delay implementation.......The company says the industry's standard time frame for installing emission controls is several years, but the rule requires compliance in six months. So Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings, has said it may have to shut down some coal-fired power plants in East Texas.
"Curtailing plant and/or mine operations will be the only option" if the 1,323-page rule goes into effect as planned, Luminant said.