Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1995

Protectionist State Coal Law Struck Down

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has declared portions of the Indiana Environmental Compliance Plans Act unconstitutional, striking down those sections that favor use of Indiana coal. The Act authorized Indiana to preapprove compliance plans files by electric utilities in response to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA), requiring the plans to favor coal mined in the state. The district court ruled that the Act violates the commerce clause, finding that the challenged portions sought to eliminate or limit use of western coal.

Comparability: Lost in the Clouds

In the consolidated case involving American Electric Power Service Corp., the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reiterated its new rule on comparability, instructing the parties to address the "different uses that a transmission owner makes of its transmission system" and to offer comparable use to others, without impediments, at

a comparable cost. But what, exactly, are those "different uses"?

Perspective

The electric power industry is mutating all over the globe. We can analyze, study, and compare, yet no single and universal model has emerged in any country. Each has developed a solution of its own.

The restructuring of the U.S. electric power industry has provoked a strong response here in Canada, but few seem to care that a U.S. solution could prove ill-advised on this side of the border. The structures of electric industries are fundamentally different in both countries.

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