What Congress Won't Legislate, EPA Will Regulate by Laura Rambeau Lee 21 Oct 2011 post a comment Share This: Several reports of late reveal that new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency will cause utility providers to shut down a number of coal-fired power plants. It is time to expose the history of the thuggish tactics utilized by the EPA in promoting a “green” energy agenda, specifically during the Clinton/Gore administration. A press release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dated November 3, 1999 reported: “U.S. SUES ELECTRIC UTILITIES IN UNPRECEDENTED ACTION TO ENFORCE THE CLEAN AIR ACT”. The release states that “seven separate suits allege that the electric utility companies -- American Electric Power, Cinergy, FirstEnergy, Illinois Power, Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company, Southern Company, Tampa Electric Company -- or their subsidiaries, and the TVA, violated the Clean Air Act by making major modifications to many of their plants without installing the equipment required to control smog, acid rain and soot.” In Florida, Tampa Electric Company (TECO) was the first utility in the country to reach a settlement agreement with the EPA and the Department of Justice. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, as outlined in a statement from then EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner, Tampa Electric Company agreed to pay $3.5 million in civil penalties, along with another “$10 million for environmentally beneficial projects designed to mitigate the impact of their pollution.” The entire Consent Decree can be viewed here. A visit to Tampa Electric Company’s website contains a declaration that in 1999 they were the "first utility in the nation to develop a plan with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address its coal-fired utility initiative.” When questioned about the connection between Tampa Electric Company’s website statement regarding their cooperation with the EPA and the announced settlement with the EPA and DOJ, a source inside the industry replied “Do you mean did they hold a gun to their head? Absolutely!” In addition, in 2004 TECO joined the Chicago Climate Exchange. “CCX emitting members make a voluntary but legally binding commitment to meet annual GHG emission reduction targets. Those who reduce below the targets have surplus allowances to sell or bank; those who emit above the targets comply by purchasing CCX Carbon Financial Instrument (CFI™) contracts.” TECO has been purchasing carbon permits since 2004. In 2010 Chicago Climate Exchange was closed and carbon exchanges are now being traded through Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). In compliance with the EPA and DOJ settlement agreement, for the past 10+ years Tampa Electric Company has been implementing their renewable energy commitments through several alternative energy projects. A recent project entails installing photo-voltaic solar panels at Centennial Middle School in Dade City, Florida. An earlier article, In California Dreaming, shows that according to the federal government’s Energy Information Administration the cost to produce photo-voltaic solar energy is nearly five times the cost of conventional coal power. Taxpayers are subsidizing much of the funding for these “green” energy projects. According to Robert J. Michaels, of the Institute for Energy Research “One of the stimulus bill’s most alarming provisions is little known and difficult to understand: electricity revenue decoupling. Decoupling, another in a long line of anti-consumer energy policies, will force utility companies to "raise electricity rates in an attempt to governmentally-mandate consumer conservation.” As our electricity providers continue to honor their commitments to the EPA and the DOJ to provide electricity using renewables such as wind and solar, our electric bills will continue to increase. A reader interested in seeing what the EPA has been up to in pursuing lawsuits and settlements for violations of its Clean Air and Clean Water regulations can view a list of cases and settlements here. The EPA has become a lawless agency empowered with a government mandate to force coal-fired power plants and industries utilizing fossil fuels into strict emissions reductions agreements that are crippling our entire economy.