American Electric Power seemed to prove EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s criticism that the industry was using scare tactics to avoid new air pollution controls correct when it provided two contradictory announcements, National Journal’s Amy Harder reports.
On June 9, AEP posed a significant hurdle to proposed EPA air standards after the company announced that the new policies would force the company to close five of its coal-fired plants, eliminate 600 jobs, and lead to higher utility rates.
Yet before a June 1 conference of investors AEP chairman and CEO Mike Morris downplayed the impact of the standards, explaining that the closing plants were “high cost” plants, used infrequently to provide extra capacity when demand was higher than usual. In 2009, many of the plants weren’t used at all as low natural gas prices diverted energy demand elsewhere.
A recent Bloomberg Government study found that the EPA’s first round pollution-cutting standards is unlikely to cause significant financial burdens on companies.