The Hannibal Board of Public Works has made an appeal to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill regarding an upcoming vote in Washington, D.C., that would push local utility rates higher if not approved.
According to the letter from Robert Stevenson, general manager of the BPW, dated June 15 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year issued a final ruling on Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS). Under the provisions some 1,400 coal and oil-fired power plants nationwide would be required to install the latest emission control systems in order to comply.
Stevenson reports that MATS has been identified by various independent sources as the “single most expensive rule ever implemented by the EPA.” If implemented, writes Stevenson, MATS would result in “dramatically higher electric rates for residential, commercial and industrial customers in my community.” Over 90 percent of Hannibal’s electrical energy comes from coal-fired power plants.
“Unnecessarily increasing the cost of essential services is not a positive step when the national economy continues to struggle toward recovery,” said Stevenson in the letter.
The intent of the MATS rule is to reduce mercury emissions. But according to the EPA’s regulatory impact study “90 percent of the health benefits would come from reduction in fine particulate matter which can be done at a much lower cost without the mercury component,” noted Stevenson.
Another concern of Stevenson’s is the requirement that some 1,400 power plants would have to be taken off line over a two- to three-year span. The BPW GM contends that such a tight schedule would leave the “nation’s interconnected electric transmission system at risk.”
Reportedly, on Wednesday, June 20, a bi-partisan resolution of disapproval on MATS will be introduced and voted on in the Senate. If approved, it would send the rules back to the EPA for review and revision, or withdrawal.
“I urge you (McCaskill) in the strongest possible terms to vote for that measure,” wrote Stevenson.
As for how the senator will vote, she is keeping her options open.
“Claire knows this is a passionate debate. She’s hearing from folks across Missouri, including religious organizations, health advocates, power
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