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OTAG Makes Recommendations to EPA

Fortnightly Magazine - August 1997

a day (em with cars and trucks contributing 15,626 tons, or 29.3 percent daily, according to OTAG's 1990 data. By 2007, utilities are expected to make up 32 percent and vehicles 28.9 percent.

The Fallout

While finishing its duties, OTAG seemed flummoxed on where to take new clean air standards. It is not easy finding agreement among 800 participants, Gade explains.

Danny Herrin, former chair of OTAG's Utilities Mini-Workgroup, for instance, was disappointed in how administrators handled proposals from the various work groups in OTAG, and that OTAG didn't hit the auto industry harder.

"Essentially, I think the management of OTAG browbeat

people to the point where they gave in," says Herrin, also manager of clean air compliance at Southern Company Services. "I think there was a lot of that that went on behind closed doors." He adds there was limited discussion to tougher proposals on the table.

Gade counters: "People can look at it the way they want. Many people have commended the OTAG leadership ... in terms of trying to be even-handed and in terms of trying to allow as much participation and discussion. For every person who says that, you can find somebody who says the opposite."

Herrin says on mobile controls, all OTAG did was support planned measures, such as the national low-emission vehicle program.

"The recommendations that came out are fairly generic in nature," says Marlin Gottschalk, former chair of OTAG's Mobile Options Mini-Workgroup. "They haven't really recommended a percentage reduction or targeted levels of emissions from [the auto sector]. Instead, they're kind of piggy-backing onto a lot of rulemaking that's either underway or that's being phased in."

"I don't think the mobile sources have been ignored," says Gottschalk, also a program manager at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. "I can understand how the utilities think they're being singled out. But ... controls of mobile sources are best done at the local level because they don't contribute much on a regional basis."

Countering Herrin again, Gade says that repeating the NLEV provisions was not necessary for OTAG. The problem, she says, is there is no NLEV program. Those in the Northeast who want electric cars have held up the program. "There are states that feel very strongly about states rights and their ability to sort of push the electric car versus other states that are saying enough with that already, let's do what it takes to get it off the dime."

"We have tried to be equitable in terms of our recommendations crossing sectors," Gade says. "If [utilities] feel they're being treated disproportionately, it's also because their contribution [to NOx] is disproportionate." (Although OTAG statistics do not seem to bear this statement out.)

"I think many people believe this to be a success in terms of our mission," Gade adds.

Says Herrin: "OTAG, as bad as it was and as long as it lasted, the really contentious part is fixing to start: the finger pointing, comments on the rulemaking (em and the lawsuits." t

Joseph F. Schuler Jr. is associate editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.