Critics say Utah power company’s plan violates EPA ruling
A Utah power company has come under fire by critics who say its latest 20-year strategic plan contains elements that would violate federal law.
Rocky Mountain Power’s 300-page Integrated Resource Plan was submitted to the Utah Public Service Commission on Tuesday, The Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/2oNNzwe ) reported. The utility’s "preferred" scenario would not involve installing specific pollution-control systems at two coal-fired power plants even though a 2016 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision requires the systems to be installed by 2021.
Rocky Mountain Power, which is the state’s largest electrical utility and Utah have sued to challenge the EPA ruling. Federal legislation introduced last month by Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Mike Lee, both Utah Republicans, also seeks to overturn the ruling.
Critics argue that the EPA decision should be part of the company’s long-term plans unless it is successfully overturned by the legislation or the legal challenge.
"It’s baffling Rocky Mountain Power is acting in its future plans as if it can defy federal law, which requires it to reduce Utah’s coal power-plant emissions," said Matt Pacenza in a statement. Pacenza is the executive director of the environmental advocacy group HEAL Utah.
Rocky Mountain Power spokesman David Eskelsen said the report does not lock in the company’s future actions, and the utility’s plan acknowledges the uncertain nature of the litigation. He said the utility typically selects the "preferred portfolio" that incurs the least cost and represents the least risk to consumers, adding that environmental compliance decisions are usually made during a separate process.
"I don’t think it’s reasonable to accuse the company of ignoring or thinking we cannot comply with the law," Eskelsen said. "The company always complies with the law."