Generators fight back against EPA’s new regulations
With a flurry of major new environmental regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is altering the power generation landscape. But will the new federal rules survive court challenges—to say nothing of next year’s national elections? Fortnightly's Michael T. Burr considers the controversy over new environmental standards. PLUS: Top Utility Lawyers of 2011.
The restructuring of electric utilities is fundamentally a matter of national policy (em not a regulatory issue. Regulators are ill-suited to make national policy because they are conditioned to act within the limits of authority specifically granted by legislation, rather than to seek a fresh statutory mandate in response to changed conditions. Policymakers must assess political, social, economic, technological, regional, and national factors to measure the need for reform.
W. Lynn Garner
Revolutions rarely succeed without a struggle. At the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the move to restructure the state's electric utility industry is no exception. The stakes are enormous. For starters, annual revenues at the state's investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs) exceed $18 billion, making up
2 percent of California's gross state product. Competitively priced electricity is vital to California's $800-billion-a-year economy, one would think.