Tri-State Releases Statement on EPA Rules

tri-state-g-tTri-State Generation and Transmission Association has released a statement concerning the EPA’s carbon emissions hearings.  The release says the company’s initial analysis of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan has raised several significant concerns that they highlighted during testimony in Denver Tuesday. Tri-State’s staff is analyzing the impacts of the proposal on its members and will work with the EPA, state agencies in each of the states it operates in, and others in the utility industry, to address its concerns.  Lee Boughey, senior manager, communications and public affairs at Tri-State said, ““We do not believe the EPA has authority to stretch the Clean Air Act to regulate nearly every aspect of electricity production and use – not to mention completely changing how the electric grid is operated.”  The press release went on to say that the EPA’s proposal is ambitious and regulates activities that other federal and state agencies currently have authority for or that cooperatives regulate through their democratically-elected boards. Because Congress did not pass the rule, the unilateral expansion by the EPA raises concerns how other agencies will respond.  You can see the full release below.

 

July 29, 2014

Tri-State testifies on EPA Clean Power Plan

· EPA greatly expanding authority under the Clean Air Act

· States challenged to draft complex plans in short timeframe

· Cooperative’s cost and resource issues not addressed by EPA

DENVER – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s initial analysis of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan has raised several significant concerns that the G&T highlighted during testimony in Denver on July 29. Tri-State’s staff is analyzing the impacts of the proposal on its members and will work with the EPA, state agencies in each of the states it operates in, and others in the utility industry, to address its concerns.

“We do not believe the EPA has authority to stretch the Clean Air Act to regulate nearly every aspect of electricity production and use – not to mention completely changing how the electric grid is operated,” said Lee Boughey, senior manager, communications and public affairs at Tri-State. “It is concerning that the EPA appears intent on making electricity markets respond to their policy direction and not economics.”

The EPA’s proposal is ambitious and regulates activities that other federal and state agencies currently have authority for or that cooperatives regulate through their democratically-elected boards. Because Congress did not pass the rule, the unilateral expansion by the EPA raises concerns how other agencies will respond.

“The EPA is placing state regulators in a difficult position to craft complex plans in a short period of time,” said Boughey. “Many state environmental regulatory agencies lack the legal authority and resources to accomplish what the EPA is mandating the states to do.”

Much of the proposed EPA rule relies on states to develop and implement state-specific plans and regulate areas that they have not in the past. State agencies are likely not positioned to implement the rule without additional funding and authority. “Our association operates in five states and would likely have to comply with five different state plans that potentially could vary greatly,” said Boughey.

Not-for-profit electric cooperatives historically have developed coal-based resources, complemented with other resources including hydropower, to responsibly serve rural communities. “The EPA’s proposal provides no path to account for cooperatives’ ability to recover costs,” said Boughey. “As a cooperative, the members of rural electric cooperatives pay all costs, including regulatory costs, and this proposal could disproportionality burden rural communities.”

“The EPA’s proposal also ignores cooperatives’ significant utilization of emission-free hydropower,” said Boughey. Twenty percent of the power Tri-State delivers to its members is from non-emitting renewable energy, including a substantial contribution from renewable hydropower.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., is the not-for-profit wholesale power supplier to 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts serving approximately 1.5 million consumers throughout a 200,000 square-mile service territory across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Comments are closed.