EPA Settlement With TVA to Shut Plants Draws Republican Scrutiny

A settlement with the U.S. and states in which the Tennessee Valley Authority will close 18 coal-fired plants and add pollution controls is drawing scrutiny from House Republicans, who say it may raise energy costs.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and five other Republicans sent a letter today asking Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson about the agreement, which requires TVA to spend $3 billion to $5 billion on equipment to reduce emissions.

“What will be the source of the funds to meet these obligations, and will the costs be passed on to ratepayers?” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

The lawmakers also ask the EPA to explain how the agreement led TVA to close almost a third of its 59 coal-fueled generators. The settlement resolves allegations that the authority violated the federal Clean Air Act.

The TVA, created in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, owns 59 coal-burning generators. It plans to replace the units being closed with renewable energy, natural gas and nuclear power sources.

The authority also will invest $350 million in clean-energy projects and pay $10 million in civil penalties, under the settlement.

TVA, created to bring power to the rural south, serves parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Upton was joined by Representatives Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, Cliff Stearns of Florida, Sue Myrick of North Carolina, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Brett Guthrie of Kentucky in signing the letter.

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