New rogue EPA regulations for coal-fired plants are economy busters

The Madison County Record Sep. 2, 2011, 10:57am

To the Editor:

If electricity in Illinois is not supplied by coal, and not by nuclear, then by what? Surely not by solar and wind power!

Not only has coal been blocked through a recent executive order by President Obama -- the rules of which are now being finalized over the next 18 months to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants - but politicians have also blocked nuclear, oil and shale oil, etc., and have used our tax monies to subsidize windmills, solar farms, grain to alcohol, etc., all of which are inadequate or impractical pipe dream sources of power highly rated by politicians, which will never be able to fulfill this nation's increasing future energy needs.

Consider the fate of the Zion Dual Nuclear Plant here in Illinois. Two operating, safe, inexpensive cost per kilowatt, PWR electricity generation plants were prematurely closed in 1998 and are now being demolished. Its tremendous source of 2,100 MG of power will soon be no more, lost forever, because of a foolish, short term decision made by Exelon Corp.

It is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under Director Lisa P. Jackson, that is responsible for putting in place the regulations issued through executive order by President Obama last month for mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, and coal. According to Jackson, since pollution goes across state lines, no longer can states be trusted to deal with it.

According to an article written by Brad Plumer, "Getting ready for a wave of coal-plant shutdowns," industry groups such as the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council, claim that the regulations will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of their coal-fired, electricity generating plants, resulting in higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs (Presently coal provides 45 percent of this nation's power).

Meanwhile, environmental groups are claiming that the EPA rules will bring sizable public health benefits, with further claims that industry groups have been exaggerating the costs of environmental regulations since they were first created.

Energy security should be a top concern of the Obama administration, along with the ramifications caused by the absence of a sound energy policy. Illinois, with its massive and unsustainable debt level, cannot afford more job losses or an increase in electricity costs. Illinoisans are already hurting, not unlike the rest of the nation in these difficult economic times.

Why should Illinoisans pay more for electricity just because the EPA is playing bureaucratic games while putting this nation's economy at even a greater risk? Higher electricity rates would limit what Illinoisans have available to spend on other goods and services.

Illinois is blessed with huge coal resources to supply its energy needs far into the future.

It should concern all Illinoisans that the state is losing forever Zion's massive 2,100 Megawatts of energy through its decommissioning by ZionSolution. Troubling also is that its premature shutting down in 1998 was never fully explained or justified by its owner, Exelon Corp. of Chicago.

Hopefully the rogue EPA can be brought under control before it drives this nation's economy off the cliff.

Nancy J. Thorner
Lake Bluff

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20460

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