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Pa's Top Environmental Regulator Opposes New EPA Air Quality Rule

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

DEP Secretary Michael Krancer

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer wants the Environmental Protection Agency to postpone enforcement of new air quality rules. Krancer submitted comments to the EPA’s proposed interstate-state “Transport Rule.” In his comments, Krancer says the new rule, which would become effective on January 1, 2012, would force some coal-fired plants to shut down, creating stress on the state’s electricity supplies.

“It is not surprising that EPA’s continued rush to judgment on all fronts, which is driven by litigation deadlines instead of science, is causing an assortment of errors like what we see not just in this instance, but in others as well,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “EPA fails to understand or fully analyze the potential effect of its onslaught of new rules on the reliability of the electric grid.”

In the comments, Krancer also says the EPA has “overstepped its legal boundaries” by moving up the effective date from 2014 to 2012. Pennsylvania has several coal-fired plants that use “waste coal,” which was once considered useless and has sat in piles, causing acid mine drainage. The EPA wants those plants to add scrubbers to reduce their toxic air emissions.
But Krancer says the coal-fired plants that use the waste coal help reduce acid mine drainage, and the new rules would essentially shut them down if they have to comply by 2012. It’s not the first time that the DEP Chief pushed back against the EPA. In October, federal regulators announced plans to set national standards for gas drilling waste water disposal. Krancer commented that Pennsylvania already has rules set in “our regulatory bailiwick.”

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