Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said efforts to limit her powers are “unprecedented” and pledged that rules aimed at coal-powered power plants won’t harm electric reliability.
Proposed legislation, such as a measure being considered in the U.S. House to block pollution controls on coal ash, would result in “gutting the heart of the Clean Air Act,” Jackson said today at an event sponsored by Politico in Washington. The EPA regulations have health effects “that are big, and it’s not theoretical, although you wouldn’t hear that from some of the rhetoric in this town.”
The House of Representatives is voting on a series of measures to roll back EPA rules that lawmakers say are harming the American economy and impeding business investment. Yesterday the House voted to block regulation of industrial boilers, used in paper mills and hospitals, and last week passed legislation to scrap rules limiting mercury emissions from cement plants.
President Barack Obama’s administration has said it opposes the cement and boiler measures, and Jackson said today that her top priority is to fend off such legislation.
The EPA has proposed regulations to cut pollution from power plants, and those standards will result in some coal-fired plants closing, Jackson said.
“What will have to happen is that really old clunkers that have never had pollution-control technology installed on them” will need to be shut, Jackson said. EPA’s flexibility to delay its standards, if necessary, and expanded demand for low-cost natural gas will ensure that electric reliability won’t suffer, she said.
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