EPA should consider flexibility and cost-effectiveness before issuing rule

LANSING – State Sen. John Proos and Rep. Al Pscholka recently sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency urging they be flexible and consider costs to energy generators and consumers before issuing new rules concerning cooling water intakes.

“The EPA is currently considering new rules that could drive up energy costs for Michigan families and job providers at the time when our state is still struggling economically,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph, vice chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. “It’s irresponsible and unnecessary.  We urge the EPA to consider specific facilities and alternative technologies and their costs in the rulemaking process, instead of issuing a one-size-fits-all approach to energy regulation.  Let us create jobs and restore our communities; don’t burden Michigan residents with more bureaucratic red tape.”

The EPA is considering rules that could mandate cooling tower retrofits at existing power facilities.  Industry estimates indicate that costs to retrofit Michigan plants would exceed $2.5 billion, including up to $1 billion at the Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Bridgman.

“We are asking that the EPA put flexibility into their rules, so that state and local officials can balance protecting our environment and restoring economic growth,” said Pscholka, R-St. Joseph. “Cook officials need the flexibility to most cost effectively manage environmental issues. Give local leaders the ability to protect their own backyard; they understand the area more than anyone else.  This isn’t simply about a rule, it’s about Michigan jobs. Our rate payers, especially our seniors, deserve it.”

Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Dec. 3, 2010 for greater transparency as the agency considers action on cooling water intake structures at existing electric generation and manufacturing facilities.

“Folks in southwest Michigan are well aware of the benefits of nuclear power, but that entire industry may soon be in jeopardy if federal and state regulators continue to promulgate rules and regulations without regard for jobs, energy prices, and our energy security,” said Upton. “We cannot allow bureaucrats to regulate the nuclear energy sector out of business – nuclear is a reliable, inexpensive, and emissions-free source of power.  At a time when we are woefully unprepared to meet our nation's growing energy demands, we should be working to bring more power online, rather than shutting down plants.”