FERC commissioner concerned about pipeline adequacy in face of utility carbon restrictions.

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There is at least one raised eyebrow at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan, the subject of a proposed rule issued on June 2. The plan would force electric utilities to reduce carbon emissions to advance President Obama's Climate Action Plan, which seeks to lower air emissions of the six greenhouse gases, of which carbon dioxide is the major member. The plan foresees individual states devising separate, and perhaps different, plans for reducing carbon emissions from electric utilities.

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller, who appeared with the four other commissioners at the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 29, criticized both the EPA's state-based reduction strategy and the expectation there will be enough pipeline capacity for power plants that switch from coal to natural gas. "The biggest challenge in implementing the proposed rule is that electricity markets are interstate in nature. Thus the proposal's state-by-state approach results in an enforcement regime that would be awkward at best, and potentially very inefficient and expensive."

In an interview, Moeller questioned EPA's ability to accurately estimate the results of its policies. He pointed to the agency's mercury and air toxics rule where the agency estimated that coal-using electric utilities that would be forced to shut down would account for in the neighborhood of 13 gigawatts of electricity.

"We are now up to 65 gigawatts of power that has been lost as a result of...

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