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GOP Bid To Block Power Plant Emissions Rule Fails

The Democrat-led Senate defeated a bid to block the Environmental Protection Agency from setting the first federal standards to reduce toxic air pollution from power plants.

Senate Republicans argued unsuccessfully that the benefits of the regulation did not outweigh rising electricity costs and lost jobs from power plants shutting down. Scott Segal heads the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council at Bracewell & Giuliani.

“As ERCOT has suggested, we’re going to have reliability problems as soon as 2015, and rules like the EPA has produced do not help.”

Power plants are the largest remaining source of manmade mercury in the environment. Mercury is a toxic metal known to impair brain development in children. Luke Metzger is director of Austin-based non-profit Environment Texas.

“The cost of health care to treat some of these health problems associated with the pollution — that costs money too, and in fact reducing this pollution will save us a lot of money by avoiding those kinds of health problems.”

The regulation will cost nearly $10 billion a year. Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison both voted to block its implementation.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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