James R. Pierobon
EPA inventory opens generators to scrutiny, especially if they burn coal.
Hazardous emissions are one thing. Damaging publicity is something else-especially in the point-and-click world of Internet access.
In the coming year, the fuels that utilities choose to generate electricity will fall under a stronger media microscope. That's when coal- and oil-fired electricity generators must begin reporting information about their accumulated releases of toxic chemicals for 1998.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
GAS PIPELINES. Noting a move toward shorter-term contracts since Order 636, the FERC on July 29 issued an "integrated package" of reform proposals for the natural gas pipeline industry: (1) specific measures in a notice of proposed rulemaking on short-term transportation (transactions shorter than one year); plus (2) an open-ended request for comments in a broader notice of inquiry. RM98-10-000, 84 FERC ¶61,985 [NOPR]; RM98- 12-000, 84FERC ¶61,087 NOI].
DEREGULATION PRESENTS WHAT IS PERHAPS THE BEST opportunity yet for renewables to stake a lasting claim in the electricity market.
Since most energy from renewable sources still isn't priced competitively with fossil-fueled technologies, many restructuring proposals at state and federal levels include various support mechanisms intended to drive down the renewable generation costs. The initial added expense is a necessary trade-off, advocates say, for the resulting reductions in emissions and energy price volatility.
Joseph F. Schuler Jr.
DOES THE KYOTO CLIMATE CHANGE TREATY POSE A SEVERE threat to the U.S. economy or is that claim simply a "Chicken Little" prediction of detractors?
Pro-business Republicans, environmentalist bureaucrats and industry observers debated the merits of each position at the Ninth Annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C., on June 10.
One of the most vociferous opponents of the treaty was Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, who headed the Congressional delegation to Kyoto, Japan.
Other speakers included Ambassador Stuart E.
Christopher D. Seiple and Todd Myers
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY HAS PROPOSED wide-ranging regulations that will increase the cost of electricity production, particularly at the nation's lowest-cost, coal-fired generators.
Despite a doubling of electricity generation since 1970, atmospheric concentrations of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide have declined. Title IV acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 will result in even greater reductions over the next few years. EPA has nevertheless charted a course to reduce utility emissions of these pollutants even further.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
TELCO UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND. Reversing an appeals court, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Kansas Corporation Commission that had required wireless telecommunications carriers to contribute to the state's universal service fund. It also affirmed a KCC ruling setting the initial amount of the fund in a roundabout way based on equalizing inter- and intrastate long-distance rates.
The KCC order (issued Dec. 27, 1996) had slashed intrastate toll rates by $111 million over three years. It then cut access charges by an equal amount to offset the loss to toll carriers.
Anne E. Smith, Jeremy Platt, and A. Denny Ellerman
LAST YEAR, IN JUSTIFYING THE PROPOSED NEW NATIONAL AMBIENT Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter and ozone, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner testified that: "During the 1990 debates on the Clean Air Act's acid rain program, industry initially projected the costs of an emission allowance¼ to be approximately $1,500¼ Today those allowances are selling for less than $100." %n1%n
Later in 1997, at the White House briefing announcing President Clinton's Global Climate Change Plan, Katie McGinty, chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality, sa
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross, and Beth Lewis
NITROGEN-OXIDE EMISSION LIMITS. Denying an appeal by electric utilities and industry groups against rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for emission limits for nitrogen oxides at certain electric utility boilers, a federal appeals court has ruled that EPA properly interpreted the Clean Air Act. The act allows EPA to set NOx limits for certain electric utility boilers if it could show that more effective technology for low-NOx burners was available, the court said.
Joseph F. Schuler Jr. Photography by Rick Reinhard
SCOTT SKLAR, WHO SHOWERS WITH SOLAR-HEATED water, who drinks his skim milk from his solar-powered refrigerator, who commutes via solar-powered car, who tells time by a solar-powered watch, who wears a sun-faced ring and sun-spotted tie, sweeps into a French restaurant on North Capitol Street in Washington, D.C.
Sklar, who has lived the Solar Energy Industries Association for more than a decade, is bald up top, but his hair sprouts out around that spot in grey-brown brillo. Glasses hug his eyes. His beard threatens to strangle him and his mustache pitches in.
James P. O'Brien
THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY HAD A novel idea: For power plants and sources relying on devices to control air emissions, rather than attempt to monitor the actual physical emissions to determine compliance with federal law, it simply would require inspections and tests of the performance of the control device. %n1%n
This strategy was formalized in the EPA's compliance assurance monitoring (CAM) rule signed Oct. 17, 1997. The EPA's theory is that if the control device is working properly, it is likely pollutant emissions fall within the required limits.