INGAA Protests EPA's Tightening of NOx Limits
A major pipeline group fired off an angry letter Friday asking
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a "policy
decision" that would force pipelines to shell out at least $280
million - money that would have to be diverted from expansion
projects - for "unproven" technology to meet a 90%-reduction target
for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
"...[I]t was with a sense of disbelief that we read your
agency's recent technical clarifications to the final rule on
nitrogen oxides and ozone control," which would require pipelines
and other companies to invest in costly selective catalytic
reduction technology (SCR) to meet a 90%-reduction target for NOx
emissions, Jerald V. Halvorsen, president of the Interstate Natural
Gas Association of America (INGAA), wrote in a letter to EPA
Administrator Carol A. Browner. The agency's action runs counter to
the Clinton administration's objectives to increase natural gas use
and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he added.
The effect of EPA's new interpretation of the ozone rule will
deprive pipeline companies of about $280 million that has been
earmarked for expansion plans over the next five years, causing
them instead to invest it in technology that is not cost-effective,
Halvorsen said. "That will curtail the pipeline industry's ability
to serve the new and emerging natural gas markets and hamper its
ability to contribute to solutions to the climate-change problem.
And it has the potential to raise the cost of natural gas to a
point that it will impede the development of market-based options
for electric utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions."
The agency's clarifications "effectively pushed aside" the
results of numerous studies that have concluded that a
90%-reduction target for emissions "cannot be economically achieved
on the majority of natural gas reciprocating compressors."
INGAA requested that EPA "reopen your rulemaking, reevaluate
your analysis on the technical merits of SCR as a cost-effective
technology to reduce NOx emissions for all internal combustion
engines and adjust the state budgets to reflect a feasible
technology." It asked that the agency act quickly in light of the
tight time frames it has given the states to prepare their own
The pipeline group also sent letters to top committee chairmen
in the Senate and House - Sen. John H. Chafee (R-RI), Sen.
Christopher S. Bond (R-MO), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Thomas J.
Bliley Jr. (R-VA) - asking that they hold oversight hearings "to
determine why EPA is ignoring its own collaborative process in
favor of uneconomic proposals that will not come close to meeting
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