Resolution in Support of Energy Security, Production, Distribution, Environmental Protection and Economic Growth in the United States

Whereas, energy affects all aspects of American life and is indispensable for quality of life, economic growth, and the sustainability of modern society, and

Whereas, access to energy and the supply of energy will only become more important in the future as energy demand continues to increase, and

Whereas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, overall energy consumption in the United States will grow by 14 percent between 2008 and 2035, electricity demand will increase by 30 percent, and demand for liquid transportation fuels such as gasoline and diesel will increase by nearly 14 percent, and

Whereas, the American economy is becoming more energy efficient, as indicated by the fact that carbon dioxide emissions per dollar of Gross Domestic Product declined 41.3 percent between 1981 and 2005, and will decline 42 percent through 2035, and technological developments spurred by the market have improved efficiency and led to lower emissions, without government mandates, excessive regulation, or taxes, and

Whereas, according to the U.S. EPA, since 1980 GDP has increased 124 percent, vehicle miles traveled have increased 103 percent, population has increased 36 percent, and energy consumption has increased 30 percent, and, despite these increases, aggregate levels of air toxins have decreased 52 percent, ambient levels of carbon monoxide are down 77 percent, ozone is down 21 percent, lead is down 94 percent and sulfur dioxide is down 68 percent, and

Whereas, the recently finalized Cross State Air Pollution Rule and other recent U.S. EPA proposals, including the Coal Combustion Residuals Rule, the Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan and the Hazardous Air Pollutants Rule, could threaten the reliability and security of the nation’s energy supply, and

Whereas, over 28 GW of coal-fired electricity generating capacity had been publicly announced to be retired beginning in 2010 before the Cross State Air Pollution Rule was finalized on July 7, 2011 and more retirements are likely to be announced due to the emission reduction requirements mandated by the rule starting January 1, 2012, and

Whereas, Whereas, the Southwest Power Pool Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) has warned EPA that the SPP transmission system may be placed in an unreliable operating state or one that necessitates firm load curtailments/customer outages,  the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has publicly stated that it fears that it may not have adequate operating reserve margins due to coal-fired plants limiting their operations or shutting down, the PJM RTO has stated that EPA has not taken into account local reliability impacts  and has understated the level of expected generation retirements,  and other RTOs may experience similar reliability risks, and

Whereas, those same proposals could force the premature closure of power plants that are essential to providing critical electrical transmission services, including voltage support, black start recovery, and reactive power, thereby further jeopardizing the dependability of the nation’s energy supply, and

Whereas, those same proposals may cause unnecessary and unjustified economic hardship on various communities throughout the United States where affected power plants are located, and

Whereas, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has adopted resolutions calling on EPA to seek ways to minimize cost impacts to consumers and those same proposed and final rules may cause unnecessary and unneeded increases in residential, commercial and industrial energy tariffs that will affect the competitiveness of businesses and the ability of customers in lower economic circumstances to be able to afford energy, and

Whereas, alternatives that would achieve the same level of emissions reduction as those targeted in the various EPA proposals can be achieved at much less cost, disruption to local economies, and with less impact to utility customers,

Resolved
Now therefore let it be Resolved that the American Legislative Exchange Council  will actively work to establish state and federal public policies that reflect these energy principles:

Environmental protection should be based on sound science, a holistic comprehensive integrated program that addresses environmental issues, the nation’s broader economic prosperity, and policies that ensure energy affordability for citizens;

Reliability of the U.S. energy grid should never be put at risk from policies that could cause energy shortages and delivery failures;

It should be the policy of the United States to allow utilities to coordinate the closure and retrofitting of existing power generation stations in a manner that will ensure the continued supply of electricity and that will allow power generators to upgrade their facilities in a manner that provides the least cost while attaining environmental compliance;

The United States Congress, which represents the interests of the states individually and collectively, is the appropriate public body to determine the nation’s energy policy as it relates to reliability of supply, residential affordability and the competitiveness of the private sector, and overall economic prosperity.

The time to deploy existing emissions control technology must reflect normal construction industry experience and practices that maximize order and efficiency to avoid wasteful financial expenditures and any risks to energy reliability;

Energy efficiency is an important part of energy policy but should not limit a state’s energy supply and delivery options.

The American Legislative Exchange Council urgently requests that the Congress quickly pass legislation and take other actions as necessary with other parties and agencies reflecting theses principles so that that the benefits of coal-fired generated electricity to Americans and state economies are increased, not decreased, fuel diversity and grid reliability is improved, not restricted, and continuing emission reduction progress is made while minimizing capital costs, rate increases and other economic impacts while meeting public health and environmental goals.

This resolution is approved and copies of it are transmitted to all members of Congress, EPA, FERC, DOE, NERC, SPP, ERCOT, PJM, MISO, NGA, NARUC, ALEC staff is directed to advocate for policies that reflect these principles.

Approved by ALEC Board of Directors in 2011.

Keyword Tags: Energy, Environmental Health