Kentucky and Indiana are among twenty-five states seeking a delay in federal regulations to reduce mercury and other toxic air pollution.
The deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency to set standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution is November 16. But twenty-five states have filed a brief in the case asking a judge to push that back another year.
As it’s proposed, the rule gives utilities three years to comply. Allison Martin in the Kentucky Attorney General’s office says the commonwealth joined the filing because it will need more time to comply.
“When you’re talking about a state like Kentucky, it is unique,” she said. “Many states have diversified energy at this point, and Kentucky does not. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, but it means we need extra time to come into compliance.”
Martin says the rule will result in substantial rate hikes for Kentuckians, and the state is trying to delay that.
Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities have already filed for rate increases for environmental upgrades that take the new air toxics standards into account. If the increase is approved, LG&E’s rates will rise 19 percent by 2016. A company spokesman said if the regulations are delayed, it’s likely the company will file an adjusted timeline with the Public Service Commission.
The EPA says the rule is necessary to protect the environment and human health. The agency has estimated the proposed rule will create 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term jobs in the utility sector.