Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, is again charging that the proposed Clean Air Bill discriminates against coal-burning power plants in Utah.
He said Thursday - as he has previously - that Utah plants have already cleaned up their emissions well below proposed standards, but the bill would require Utahns and all electric rate payers nationally to help clean up the remaining dirty plants - which are mainly in the East.Also a new system of "emission allowances" could prevent expansion of power plants in Utah unless companies buy "allowances" - or governmental permission to pollute certain existing amounts - from dirtier power plants in the East as they are cleaned up.
Nielson, a member of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, which is reviewing the bill, made the comments after a hearing Thursday.
About proposals to have all rate payers fund cleanup of dirty plants, Nielson said, "Let the polluter pay his own way. We've done our part and have paid the price to install costly scrubbers. I don't see why we should be forced to help pay to clean up facilities that have been lagging behind in their responsibility.
About the proposed emission allowance system, Nielson said it "virtually eliminates any possible growth for Utah facilities."
He said at least Utah utilities should be given credit for pollution they have already cleaned when the government figures its allowances.
"Finally, it's really unfair to our clean facilities to be forced to purchase allowances from dirty facilities, especially when we already have paid the price to clean up our plants," Nielson said.