EPA Misleads Public on Impact of New Regulations on Electricity Reliability

Senator Murkowski Uncovers Discrepancy Between EPA Statements and Electricity Grid Regulators

Consequences of Power Plant Closures on Reliability of U.S. Power Capacity is Unknown, says National Center for Public Policy Research

Washington, D.C. – Today policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to documents recently released by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) revealing that the Environmental Protection Agency misled the public about the agency’s work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to determine the impact of its new regulations on the reliability of the nation’s electricity capacity.

New EPA regulations are estimated to significantly reduce the amount of electricity generated from coal-fired energy from our power grid. The EPA had assured the public that the agency was working with FERC to determine the impact of its regulations on the reliability of the nation’s electricity capacity including a joint modeling effort.

However, responses from FERC Commissioners to an inquiry from Murkowski regarding the degree of agency coordination on the impact of the agency’s new rules clearly shows the EPA statements were not truthful. Correspondence from the FERC chairman and commissioners revealed the commission is not working on a formal assessment of the impact of the EPA regulations on the ability of our power grid to reliably deliver electricity to the nation’s homes and businesses.

“The EPA’s deception of the public is outrageous and it exposes the agency’s underlying zeal to regulate without regard to the consequences of its actions. EPA’s actions may very well put the reliability of our electricity supply in jeopardy,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.

“Congress must step in and get control of the EPA which is operating under its own rules with an arrogant disregard of Congressional oversight and the interest of American people,” added Tom Borelli.

Reacting to the new EPA rules, utilities including American Electric Power and Southern Company are closing coal-powered power plants because of the compliance costs of meeting the agency’s new air emissions standards. Based on an informal estimate FERC reported that as much as 81 gigawatts of coal generated electricity, which represents about 8 percent of U.S. electricity capacity, could be eliminated from the power grid. Numerous areas of our country operate within capacity margins where effects like this will cause blackouts to occur.

“Common sense dictates removing a significant amount of our most affordable electricity from our power grid will have an impact on our economy. I’m deeply troubled about the EPA’s rush to judgment and the possible adverse consequences to the reliability of our electricity supply,” said Deneen Borelli, Project 21 Fellow.

“Our economy is already faltering and the last thing we need are power outages and skyrocketing utility bills because of a rouge agency. Energy security should be a top concern of the Obama Administration and not an afterthought. It’s shocking that the EPA is playing its bureaucratic games while putting our economy at risk. Congress needs to get control of the EPA before it drives our economy over cliff.”

The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters. Its 2010 revenue was over $12 million. It receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions are welcome and appreciated.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.