GOP Bid To Block Power Plant Emissions Rule Fails

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The Democrat-led Senate defeated a bid to block the Environmental Protection Agency from setting the first federal standards to reduce toxic air pollution from power plants.

Senate Republicans argued unsuccessfully that the benefits of the regulation did not outweigh rising electricity costs and lost jobs from power plants shutting down. Scott Segal heads the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council at Bracewell & Giuliani.

"As ERCOT has suggested, we’re going to have reliability problems as soon as 2015, and rules like the EPA has produced do not help."

Power plants are the largest remaining source of manmade mercury in the environment. Mercury is a toxic metal known to impair brain development in children. Luke Metzger is director of Austin-based non-profit Environment Texas.

"The cost of health care to treat some of these health problems associated with the pollution — that costs money too, and in fact reducing this pollution will save us a lot of money by avoiding those kinds of health problems."

The regulation will cost nearly $10 billion a year. Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison both voted to block its implementation.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...