Agency moves ahead despite ruling that Clean Air Act is unconstitutional.
By granting petitions filed by four Northeastern states seeking to reduce ozone pollution in their geographic areas through reductions in nitrogen oxide emission (NOx) from out-of-state sources, along with other initiatives, the Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 17 began to clean the regulatory air that has grown murky as of late.
Last May a federal court had struck down the agency's move, in its call for state implementation plans (SIP) on NOx, to tighten the national ambient air quality standard for ozone from a one-hour standard to an eight-hour standard. The court said that Congress had exceeded constitutional authority by delegating too much power to the EPA.
But the issue was still in a tangle, as several states had taken advantage of the uncertainty to file their own lawsuits against out-of-state polluters.
The Section 126 Complaints
In the EPA's action of Dec. 17, the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania each won approval on their petitions under Section 126 of the Clean Air Act, which allows states to ask the EPA to set emissions limits for specific pollution sources in other states that contribute significantly to their air quality problems and hinder their ability to meet the one-hour ozone standard. (Last April petitions in the remaining New England states were denied because they no longer had areas that failed the one-hour standard.) Meanwhile, at press time, petitions were still pending for Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
The granting of the petitions means that EPA has found that various electric utilities and large industrial generators located upwind are contributing significantly to pollution in the complaining states. The action means that 392 facilities in 12 states (Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia must reduce annual emissions by a total of nearly 510,000 tons from 2007 levels. The EPA says that the Section 126 action along will mean cleaner air for over 100 million people, over one-third of the country's population.
The identified facilities can meet emissions "caps" by participating in a federal NOx cap-and- trade program, which will allow them to buy and sell emissions allowances. The program, which had been on hold, now begins to move forward toward the deadline of May 1, 2003 four sources to achieve their respective required NOx reductions. For more information on the petitions, including a list of companies with cited facilities, go to "Recent Actions" (http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/ramain.html) on the EPA's webside and see "Section 126 Petitions."
Doubling Efforts: the Federal Lawsuits
Earlier, on Nov. 3, the EPA had filed lawsuits against seven electric utilities operating plants in the Midwest and South, alleging the companies violated the Clean Air Act by abusing a loophole that exempted older, coal-fired plants from the law. The EPA had alleged that, for all intents and purposes, the companies had converted those facilities into "new" plants by increasing capacity and replacing and updating equipment, thus nullifying any right to an exemption for "old" plants.
The EPA lawsuit entails some overlap with the Section 126 complaints, which target some of the same plants named in the EPA suit, but the cases remain separate. "Granting the 126 petitions is just another backstop for EPA in case their other actions fail, just as the revised [eight-hour] standard failed in court last year," said Pat Hemplepp, spokesman for American Electric Power.
Moreover, the Northeastern states apparently aren't leaving it up to the EPA to fight their battles. Vermont and New Jersey have announced that they will joint the EPA suit, while the attorneys general from new York and Connecticut joined as plaintiffs in a suit filed Nov. 29 against American Electric Power in the U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio.
This suit targets 10 coal-burning plants, alleging that AEP increased generating capacity through repowering projects and the like, which requires installation of additional pollution controls.
Said New York attorney general Elliot Spitzer, "The emissions from these plants are a significant factor in the problems of acid rain and smog that are damaging natural gas resources and human health in New York."
American Electric Power counters that it has only undertaken routine maintenance, such as replacement of degraded equipment or failed components, which would not violate the Clean Air Act AEP adds that utilities in the Northeast should accept responsibility for their own actions. "We continue to be amazed that Northeast states insist on blaming their local environmental problems on sources that are...miles away," said Dale Heydlauff, vice president-environmental affairs for American Electric Power.
Meanwhile, Spitzer and his colleague in Connecticut have said they intend to file similar lawsuits against FirstEnergy, Ginergy, Virginia Power and perhaps other utilities.
EPA Authority: A High Court Appeal?
On Dec. 1, the EPA proposed action, known as one-hour ozone attainment demonstrations, for 10 major urban areas, outlining emission reductions necessary for each area to meet the standard for smog.
The 10 affected areas are Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee, Spring, Mass., Hartford, Conn. and Washington, D.C. Such a plan, of course, does not place the burden solely on power plants, but on other major polluters such as motor vehicles within the identified areas. (see http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/ramain.html - "Ozone 1-hour Attainment Demonstrations.")
In fact, even the eight-hour standard may not be entirely dead. On Oct. 29 a federal appeals court voted 2-1 to deny rehearing of its May ruling that had struck down the standard as unconstitutional, but five of 11 circuit judges said they would rehear the case en banc, if given the chance. Thus, at the end of December some observers thought that the EPA might consider an appeal. One such observer was Norman Fichthorn, partner in the administrative law group and member of the environmental team in the law firm Hunton & Williams, who added: "It will take at least a few more months for them [the EPA] to sort that out."
In the meantime, the EPA was aiming to reinstate the old one-hour standard in states where it had been revoked in favor of the more stringent eight-hour standard. The comment period for that proposal, which was issued Oct. 20, was extended until Jan. 3, 2000.
And the EPA got a boost on Dec. 21, in the case of Lignite Energy Council v. EPA, when the D.C. Circuit upheld the EPA's new source performance standards for Nox emissions from industrial and electric utility boilers. Those standards reflect the level of emissions achievable by what the EPA considers as the best demonstrated system of emissions reduction for new plants: the use of selective catalytic reduction. Said the Court:
"In light of EPA's unchallenged findings showing that the new standards will only modestly increase the cost of producing electricity in newly constructed boilers, we do not think that EPA exceeded its considerable discretion under [Clean Air Act] sec. 111."
At last count the cap-and-trade program was still a "go." And while it remains the control remedy for the Section 126 petitions, the program could be available to states that voluntarily present a state implementation plan to meet the requirements.
Carl J. Levesque is associate editor at Public Utilities Fortnightly. Assisting on this story was Lori A. Burkhart, contributing legal editor.
**Transmission & ISOs
Next-Hour Service. In late December, the North American Electric Reliability Council told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it hoped to provide the details for its new "next-hour" transmission service by Jan. 31, as it still was working on specifications for tagging and compliance with OASIS rules.
The FERC had OK'd the service on Dec. 16, providing a "leftover" market for unused non-firm transmission capacity. Customers would reserve transmission service for one hour when the request is made no more than 60 minutes prior to commencement of service, but at the lowest curtailment priority-the priority assigned to non-firm service to secondary receipt and delivery points. Previously, customers seeking hourly transmission service would submit a reservation by 2 p.m. the day before. See Docket No. ER00-157-000, Dec. 16, 199, 89 FERC par. 61,277, and letter filed Dec. 22, 1999.
Alliance RTO. Saying it was "conditionally authorizing" their application to transfer power grid facilities to a regional transmission organization, the FERC nevertheless imposed additional requirements on the Alliance Companies (FirstEnergy, Consumers Energy, Detroit Edison, Virginia Power and American Electric Power) that would appear to make the proposal problematic, such as expanding its geographic scope to include natural selling (Chicago) and buying (western Pennsylvania and New York) areas.
Vicky Bailey recused herself and Curt Hebert dissented, claiming that the conditions far exceeded requirements in the FERC's final rule governing RTOs, Docket Nos. ER99-3144-000, EC99-80-000, Dec. 20, 1999, 89 FERC par. 61,298.
Earlier, on Dec. 8, the Alliance group had proposed a dispute resolution process to settle disputes between RTOs and allow neighboring RTOs to participate in coordinated regional planning and develop reciprocity pricing.
Wisconsin Transco. Wisconsin Power & Light Co. formally asked the FERC for authority to transfer both ownership and operational control of its transmission facilities to a new Wisconsin transmission company created by state law to own and operate the state's high-voltage grid system. FERC Docket No. EC00-33-000, filed Dec. 8, 1999.
Chicago-Area Transco. Commonwealth Edison joined with IES Utilities, Interstate Power and MidAmerican Energy to ask the FERC to issue a declaratory order that their proposed independent transmission company (ITC), operating under the oversight of the Midwest ISO (the so-called "binary RTO"), would satisfy the commission's final rule governing regional transmission organizations. FERC docket No. EL00-25-000, filed Dec. 13, 1999.
Earlier, Alliant Energy had applied for authority to transfer operational control of its transmission facilities to the Midwest ISO. See FERC Docket No. EC00-29-000, filed Dec. 6, 1999.
Attorney Frederick J. Killian of Winston & Strawn described the ComEd ITC plan as "an organized energy market to provide balancing services and to support economical congestion management and ancillary services." It would coordinate and consolidated control areas and the existing regional reliability councils in the Midwest, while allowing the Midwest ISO to provide market monitoring and security coordination.
ComEd contends in the application that its plan might help expand the Midwest ISO: "If transmission owners who are currently outside the Midwest ISO commit control of their transmission systems to an ITC within the MISO-as [we' believe they will-the MISO footprint will expand."
Killian urged the FERC to approve it "These commitments are unlikely to be made on the merge speculation that the Commission might approve the binary RTO structure and PBR and incentive rate proposals."
California PX. The California Power Exchange announced that it volumetric charge in effect during 1999 will continue into 2000, at $0.3064 per megawatt-hour for full and partial requirements customers. FERC Docket No. ER00-850-000, filed Dec. 20, 1999.
California ISO. The California ISO filed its report with the FERC analyzing three problem areas regarding ISO operations: (1) the "5 percent test" for creating or modifying the congestion management zones, (2) the ISO's method for calculating and assigning transmission losses to individual scheduling coordinators, and 93) its one-part approach for evaluating bids for ancillary services, as compared with a two-part evaluation that would take into account both the capacity and energy components of such bids. FERC Docket No. ER00-703-000, filed Dec. 1, 1999.
MAPP RTO. Members of the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool on Dec. 8 voted down a proposal that would have amended MAPP bylaws to allow formation of a regional transmission organization in areas covering parts of Kansas and Missouri, up to Saskatchewan and Manitoba, MAPP and its 90-plus members also were thinking of merging some functions with the Midwest ISO, which was expected to become operational on June 1, 2001, serving portions of 14 states.
On Dec. 9 MISO entered into a memo of understanding with MAPP and a letter agreement with the Southwest Power Pool, proposing the integration of various MAPP functions, assets and personnel into MISO.
New York ISO. The New York Independent System Operator on Dec. 1 officially assumed control and operation of the state's electric power grid from the New York Power Pool, commencing the operation of a competitive wholesale electricity market in the state.
Two weeks later, the ISO proposed to speed up recovery of startup costs, amortizing the amount over five years instead of 10 to modify lenders. It predicts that the surcharge will rise from about 4 cents per megawatt-hour to about 9 cents. FERC Docket ER99-4235, Filed Dec. 15, 1999.
Fossil Plant Divestitures. New York-based Central Hudson Gas & Electric was to auction its ownership interests in the 500-megawatt Danskammer (fuel oil-, natural gas- and coal-fired) and the 1,200-MW Roseton (fuel oil-and natural gas-fired) electric generating plants, as part of its restructuring to provide competition in that state. The auction proposal filed at the New York PSC calls for the plants to be offered for sale as a single asset in order to optimize operation and maintenance efforts.
Central Hudson, the lead seller on behalf of the other owners, holds a 35 percent interest in Roseton, while 25 percent is owned by Niagara Mohawk and 40 percent by Consolidated Edison Co. of New York. The auction will include a transition power agreement, allowing Central Hudson to purchase electricity from the winning bidder.
Michigan Electric Restructuring. Michigan state senator Mat Dunaskiss, in consultation with Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow, was to introduce electric restructuring legislation on Jan. 12, with hearings to begin Jan. 24, with support from commercial and industrial users and a large coalition of utilities, including CMS Energy Corp.
Michigan utilities have gone forward with voluntary retail choice programs with the blessing of the state PSC, after a state court last year struck down attempts by the PSC to make retail choice mandatory. Now, Sen. Dunaskiss, chairman of the technology and energy committee, said, "we believe that with continued discussions from additional interests we can have a bill ready for passage early next year."
Any state law also must comply with a federal district court ruling issued in Michigan last July (but not released until December) that said that any PSC restructuring program must allow utilities to bill their customers for avoided cost rates for purchased power paid to qualifying cogeneration facilities.
Consumer Education. Virginia regulators sent a proposed $30 million plan for consumer education on electric restructuring ("Virginia Energy Choice") to the state legislature for inclusion in the state budget, preparing for retail choice in 2002.
The state commission has proposed financing the program ($6 million per year for five years at a cost of 89 cents per year per resident) by increasing the special tax currently used to finance the operation of the commission.
Gas Retailer Complaints. To help citizens choose a natural gas marketer, the Georgia PSC has issued "score-cards" that compare the state's certified natural gas marketers by volume of consumer complaints.
Available on the PSC's Internet website, the scorecards list the percentage of complaints received for energy 10,000 customers that a particular marketer serves in Georgia. Complaints are broken down into three separate categories; billing, service and deceptive marketing practices.
"By posting these scorecards on the commission's web page, it is our intention to ar consumers with more information about the newly deregulated market that can be used in arriving at a decision of which marketer to choose," said PSC chairman Stan Wise. "Further, by making this information readily available to the public, it is our hope that marketers will continue to appreciate the need to run clean and efficient operations in this state." See www.psc.state.ga.us.
Power Outages. The Maryland PSC called on interested parties to determine whether performance standards would enhance utility reliability and mitigate storm-related outages, following a request by Gov. Paris Glendening for an investigation of power outages.
The PSC also instructed investor-owned utilities to consult with out-of-state utilities to improve existing plans and procedures for the exchange of crews and other resources when needed, to evaluate the undergrounding of selective segments of utility transmission and distribution systems, and the need for legislation or rules for tree trimming on private property.
Beginning Jan. 31, electric utilities must report every three months on the status of their self-assessment processes to ensure reliability. Order No. 75823, Dec. 13, 1999 (Md.P.S.C.).
T&D Rates. The Maine PUC OK'd a settlement setting a revenue requirement (excluding stranded costs) at $16.4 million, including a 10.7 percent cost of equity, for transmission and distribution service by Maine Public Service Co. The settlement also calls for a "top-down" method for setting core class rate design, backing off the generation cost from current rates using standard offer prices. Docket No. 98-577, Dec. 1, 1999 (Me.P.U.C.).
Standard Offers. The Maine PUC also moved to sort out issues regarding standard offer service on several fronts:
* Bangor Hydro. It set rates at 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., to apply until it can designate another wholesale supplier for BHE. Docket No. 99-111, Dec. 3, 1999 (Me.P.U.C.).
* Central Maine Power. It designated Energy Atlantic to provide standard offer service for residential and small non-residential customers of Central Maine Power Co., setting a rate of $0.4089 per kilowatt-hour for a two-year period beginning March 1. Docket No. 99-111, Dec. 3, 1999 (Me.P.U.C.).
* Undivested Assets (CMP). It approved the sale to Engage Energy US L.P. and Select Energy Inc. of Central Maine's capacity and energy entitlements from its undivested generation assets. The levelized prices of the winning Engage bid and Select bid were, respectively, $0.0279 and $0.0490 per kilowatt-hour. The bids were "coupled." Engaged "presumably" will use the entitlements to supply EA for its standard offer service. Docket No. 99-764, Dec. 3, 1999 (Me.P.U.C.).
* Undivested Assets (BHE). It approved the designation of Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. as the winning bidder to purchase capacity and energy entitlements from most of BHE's non-divested generation assets and contracts. Docket No. 99-284, Dec. 3, 1999 (Me.P.U.C.).
Retroactive Billing. Backing off on its original 10-year proposal, which all commenting regulators opposed, the Iowa board set a time limit of five years for both refunding and back-billing customers of electric, gas, water and telephone utilities. Docket No. RMU-99-3, Nov. 29, 1999 (Iowa Utils.Bd.).
PBR Plans. Regulators in three states in the Midwest considered plans for performance-based rates for both electric and gas utility service.
* Illinois. Nicor Gas accepted a PBR plan that will compare gas supply costs to a targeted benchmark based on competitive market prices, with the difference shared 50/50 between stockholders and customers. The commission will review the plan after two years.
"We're pleased that Nicor Gas will be the first natural gas utility in Illinois to put into place an alternative natural gas cost rate plan," said Tom Fisher, Nicor chairman, president and CEO. No. 99-0127, Nov. 23, 1999 (Ill.C.C.).
* Oklahoma. Unhappy with the level of risk it was asked to bear without opportunity for reward, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. withdrew its proposed PBR plan case from the state commission's Dec. 8 docket after failing to reach a settlement with commission staff and the state attorney general. The utility claimed the plan would have saved ratepayers about $83 million during the 30-month transition to electric competition.
* Kansas. Regulators in Kansas declined for now to adopt retail choice for natural gas supply, but opened a docket to consider an "index system" to replace the purchased gas adjustment mechanisms currently used to track local distribution company procurement costs and decisions. Docket No. 99-GIMG-538-GIG, Oct. 29, 1999 (Kan.S.C.C.).
Gas Balancing. The Georgia PSC ruled that providers of gas delivery services should implement daily balancing fees and penalties. It added that once all retail customers are randomly assigned to a gas supplier, it will deregulate interruptible balancing service provided by local distribution utilities to customers relying on the utility's capacity rights. Docket No. 10768-U, Nov. 4, 1999 (Ga.P.S.C.).
On-Site Generation. The New York PSC authorized Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. to exempt customers who install wind or solar-powered generation equipment from provisions in its existing tariff for standby services. Case 99-E-0991, Oct. 9, 1999 (N.Y.P.S.C.).
On Dec. 16 Automated Power Exchange Inc. announced plans to launch an Internet-based exchange for electricity trading in the United Kingdom, APX says it will introduce a variety of physical and financial instruments for electricity delivered in England and Wales, on time scales ranging from half-hourly to at least one full year forward.
Consumers Energy as of December had made available some 300 MW (5 percent of its electric capacity) to competing power generators with the completion of the second round of bids in the utility's Electric Customer Choice program. The winning bids are posted on Consumers' website at consumersenergy.com. As in the first round, bids in the second round significantly exceeded the 150 MW of allotted capacity.
Aquila Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of UtiliCorp United, and American Public Energy Agency have signed the largest single long-term natural gas contract to be financed through the issuance of long-term taxable revenue bonds worth approximately $264 million. Aquila is providing the gas to APEA for sale to APEA's municipal utility customers and other public agencies across the United States. Under the contract, gas commenced flowing Dec. 1 and continues for 12 years.
Baltimore Gas & Electrichas selected Derivion to implement Internet bill presentment and payment services for its more than 1 million utility customers. Bult with the deregulating utility industry in mind, Derivion's inetBiller application can be rapidly deployed for billers with total implementation time of 30 to 60 days from contract signing to first bill. This period covers all steps necessary for complete electronic bill presentment and payment implementation, including designing the online bill, setting up the interfaces to existing billing systems, presenting bills online, promoting the service and launching the process of enrolling customers.
Dana Corp, Texaco, Southern Co. and Salt River Project have joined forces for a three-year, $7 million fuel cell demonstration and evaluation project at the Houston Advanced Research Center. The objective is to demonstrate the value of stationary, near-zero emission PEM fuel cell units in both small and large-scale applications at HARC's newly created Center for Fuel Cell Research and Application.
GE Power Systems will supply power generation equipment and additional services for the construction of a $194 million, Build-Operate-Transfer, natural gas-fired power plant will be supply 206 MW of electricity for Alapli, in the province of Zonguldak, Turkey. ATAM Elektrik Sanayive Ticaret A.S. of Istanbul is sponsoring the project, which is scheduled to begin commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2002.
The Power Pool of Alberta has signed a contract with Andersen Consulting to develop an Internet-based Energy Trading System, which will provide the technology to operate in the electric energy market in 2001. The new system will be designed to equip the Power Pool to handle higher volumes of transactions in preparation for customer choice and the auction of power purchase arrangements, and to interface with other markets that may be developed.
Federal Legislation. On Dec. 21, the North American Electric Reliability Council urged House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley to move forward on those items in H.R. 2944 ("The Electric Competition and Reliability Act") that affect electric reliability, if action on the full bill should falter.
NERC stated that, "Without the ability to enforce compliance with mandatory reliability rules, fairly applied to all participants, we may not be able much longer to keep the interstate electric grids operating reliably."
Native Load Preference. Warning that if the decision is allowed to stand, "the concept of uniform quality of firm transmission service may be eviscerated," three trade associations have joined up with the Transmission Access Policy Study Group and seven transmission-dependent generation and transmission cooperatives to file an amici curiae brief at the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to overturn the 8th Circuit ruling from last May that said the FERC lacks authority to impose open-access rules on retail native load subject to state PUC jurisdiction.
The Electricity Consumers Resource Council has joined with the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the Chemical Manufacturers Association to dispute that ruling.
ELCON executive director John A. Anderson says the case calls into question the central question in electric restructuring: "Will the transmission grid be subject to one national set of rules that encourages competition, or will the states be allowed to tamper with the grid?"
Resource Planning. Acknowledging the need for reliability to be assessed from a regional perspective, the Pennsylvania PUC revised its resource planning filing requirements to reflect changes in the restructured electric industry, requiring electric distribution companies to provide aggregate data on existing and planned generating capability by control area and regional reliability council. Docket No. L- 00980136, Dec. 2, 1999 (Pa.P.U.C.).
Reserve Capacity. The Florida PSC on Dec. 8 OK'd a proposal by three utilities (Florida Power Corp., Florida Power & Light and Tampa Electric) to boost reserve requirements from 15 percent to 20 percent by the summer of 2004.
Florida Power said it intends to accelerate the build out of its planned Hines 2 unit, a 500-MW partner of the already operating Hines 1. President and chief executive officer Joe Richardson said that his company made the proposal because "it increases reliability for customers and it allows us to work within the current regulatory framework."
Power Outages. Michigan Circuit Court judge Ellis Reid gave tentative approval to a proposed settlement between Commonwealth Edison Co. and some 30,000 class action plaintiffs (customers) that calls for any customer who went without power for over 12 consecutive hours during power outages in July 1995 to receive a "customer outage credit," ranging from $7 for residential customers to $260 for certain nonresidential customers. Some customers would receive additional compensation for food spoilage, other perishable items and damage caused by power surges. Total benefits available to the class equal about $2.5 million. A hearing was scheduled for March.
"As a matter of law, we believe that ComEd is not responsible for heat-related damages," said Pamela B. Strobel, ComEd's vice president and general counsel. "We simply feel that it is time to close this chapter in our history and concentrate on the ongoing improvements to our delivery system and the exciting opportunities presented by restructuring, competition and our recently announced merger."
**Mergers & Acquisitions
SCANA + PSNC. North Carolina OK'd the merger of SCANA Corp. with Public Service Co. of North Carolina. It told PSNC to cut rates by $2 million (over 18 months following the closing date) and imposed a five-year moratorium on general rate cases.
Approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission was still required. Docket No. G-5 Sub 400, Dec. 7, 1999 (N.C.U.C.).
ONEOK + Southwestern Gas. The Arizona commission postponed hearings until Feb. 11 on the proposed merger of ONEOK Inc. and Southwestern Gas, after Southern Union Co. (a rival bidder for Southwest Gas) had filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Arizona commissioner Jim Irvin and former commission secretary Jack Rose unlawfully blocked Southern Union's efforts to acquire Southwest Gas. The suit alleged that Rose improperly brokered a deal to finance ONEOK's merger with Southwest Gas, in exchange for a 35 percent cut of any fee paid by ONEOK to Prudential Securities.
**Studies & Reports
Green Power Marketing. A report from management and communications consulting firm, Environmental Futures Inc., finds broad differences from state to state on what qualifies as "green" or "renewable" power. The "Green-e" certification program in Pennsylvania, for example, includes energy efficiency in its definition of renewable energy, while the Green-e program in California does not. Meanwhile, Texas green power regulations accept natural gas as "green."
"Consumers believe that their existing electricity is greener than it actually is," said Larry Alexander, one of the authors of the report. Alexander noted, however, that "[s]tate disclosure laws help set the record straight. They make the case for green power." See http://www.envfutures.com.
State-by-State Restructuring. The number of states with electric deregulation initiatives under way has more than doubled during the past two years, with most of the restructuring momentum coming from states with relatively high electricity rates, according to a study by the Gas Research Institute that tracks developments through October 1999 (GRI-99/0240.)
The study found that 24 states have enacted legislation or issued deregulatory orders on electric industry restructuring, up from 10 states in 1997. The 24 states represented more than 73 million consumers, accounting for 60 percent of electricity customers in the United States. Restructuring picked up momentum in 1999, with nine states adopting deregulation plans vs. only two new states in 1998. Contact Kelly Murray at 703-526-7832.
Website Rankings. Energy E-Comm.com has inaugurated its proprietary ranking of corporate websites in the energy and utilities industry, including gas, electric and water utilities, energy producers, energy traders and marketers, energy logistics companies, equipment and technology vendors and professional service providers. Contact Kathy O. McGrath at 800-849-7981.
NOx Controls. A federal appeals court upheld new source performance standards for nitrogen oxide emissions imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Clean Air Act Sec. 111 for industrial and utility boilers (0.2 and 0.15 lbs. respectively, per million BTU), endorsing the EPA's confidence in the "selective catalytic reduction" technology.
It said the EPA had discretion to issue uniform standards for all new utility boilers, instead of using a range of standards based on boiler and fuel type. Lignite Energy Council v. EPA, No. 98-1525, Dec. 21, 1999 (D.C.Cir.).
Cellular Phone Towers. Affirming a district court ruling, an appeals court ruled that federal law preempts any local zoning ordinance that seeks to regulate interference with radio frequencies. SW Bell Wireless Inc
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