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EPA Rules Continue to Raise Electric Reliability Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska today reiterated her concerns about potential threats to the reliability of the nation’s electric grid posed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s pending regulations. Murkowski’s comments come in light of this week’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Annual Technical Conference on Electric Reliability, as well as the release of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) 2011 Long Term Electric Reliability Assessment. 

“The reliability and security of our nation’s electric grid must be protected. I’ve been concerned about the potential impacts the proposed EPA rules, including the Utility MACT rule, could have on electric reliability. I’ve repeatedly asked EPA to work with FERC to better understand the potential reliability impacts of the various proposals before implementing them. 

“I appreciate the work that NERC has done in its most recent reliability assessment to identify the cumulative impact of EPA’s proposed rules. Similar to my previous requests, NERC has asked EPA and other regulators to consider the time and scope of their regulations and the effects on bulk power system reliability. It is important to get the facts on the table. While there are differing estimates on the size of the impact that EPA’s new rules will have on electric reliability, there’s consensus that there will be an impact.

“FERC also seems to be taking this issue more seriously, as reflected by its reliability technical conference this week, most of which was devoted to the potential impact of EPA’s rules and its request for additional public comment. And while EPA has responded to NERC’s recent report, I’m still waiting for EPA’s full response to questions about its work on reliability. I hope to receive a full response from them soon, so I can better understand what steps they are taking to protect electric reliability.”

Background

  • On Monday, NERC released a study assessing the impacts of EPA rulemakings on electric grid reliability.
  • Sen. Murkowski wrote to Administrator Jackson on Aug. 3, and Sept. 7. She and Sen. Inhofe followed up with another letter on Nov. 8, concerning EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics standards or “Utility MACT” rule. Among other things, the letters ask for answers to questions about potential impacts the Utility MACT rule could have upon electric reliability.

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