South Charlotte

Commissioner goes to D.C.

Late last month, Mint Hill Commissioner Tina Ross and seven other elected officials from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.

The meeting was facilitated by the American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity.

The group urged Jackson to rethink some pending EPA regulations they say would result in potential job losses and higher energy prices.

The officials' concern centers on proposed rules for coal-fueled power plants. Under the current proposal, the rules would go into effect in three years - not nearly enough time, Ross says, for power plants to make modifications to their equipment. She and the others are pushing to allow at least five years for implementation.

"The last thing Mint Hill needs right now is more governmental regulations that will drive up energy costs for families and businesses in our community," Ross said. "If these new EPA regulations aren't fixed, more than 180,000 Americans will lose their jobs each year. Projected job losses in North Carolina from just two of these new rules could be about 5,800 per year, and electricity rates could increase by 13 percent."

Ross also met with N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan and her staff to ask them to work with the White House and EPA to help temper the proposed regulations.

"I have always supported clean air, but the EPA needs to slow down and fix these regulations so they don't harm working families in Mint Hill," said Ross. "There are easy fixes that can be made to these regulations. For instance, the EPA should give utilities enough time to construct and install pollution controls. A simple change like that will reduce air pollution but not force utilities to shut down power plants or change to more expensive fuels."

Ross says the proposed regulations are due to be finalized by Jackson on Dec. 16. She urges those wanting to comment on the proposed Utility MACT - Maximum Achievable Control Technology - regulations to comment directly to the White House and copy Jackson. The White House and the EPA also are hearing from legislators concerned about the proposed rules and the effects implementation will have on their states.

For more information contact Katrina "Tina" Ross at katrinar87@earthlink.net.

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