AEP Says Deadlines for Cutting Power Plant Air Pollution Are `Unrealistic'

American Electric Power Co., which owns utilities selling power in 11 U.S. states, said deadlines to curb pollution by 2012 and 2014 proposed by the Obama administration are “unrealistic,” according to comments filed with the Environmental Protection Agency today.

The rules, proposed on July 6, would limit trading of pollution allowances while slashing sulfur dioxide, which produces acid rain, and nitrogen oxide, the cause of smog. They would cut sulfur dioxide by 71 percent by 2014 from 2005 levels and nitrogen oxide by 52 percent over the same period, according to the EPA.

AEP comments come two days after its Chief Executive Officer Mike Morris said the Columbus, Ohio-based company will probably be in compliance “without any hardware” with the 2012 and 2014 deadlines.

Utilities don’t have enough time to permit, construct and install control equipment to limit emissions or replace polluting plants with new capacity, the company said in the filing today.

“AEP does not believe that the timelines and stringent budgets within this proposed transportation rule are necessary or justified,” according to the filing. “The proposed transportation rule neglects to consider utility system planning factors that affect unit retirement decisions and deadline- driven resource and skilled labor shortages.”

Emissions from power plants have been linked to illnesses such as asthma and heart attacks, EPA said.

AEP owns about 38,000 megawatts of power generation and serves 5.2 million customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katarzyna Klimasinska in Houston at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net.

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