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AEP really is coordinating their PR today. WV, OK and IN media all have stories about costs of EPA compliance. http://t.co/Zgvsgkrless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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This morning American Electric Power is waging a not-so-secret — and not terribly subtle — campaign to build sentiment against EPA regulations that would force it to shut down or clean up its oldest, filthiest coal-fired power plants.

One of the dirty little secrets of coal-fired power production in the U.S. is that a significant proportion of these power plants — pretty much all of the ones built before the Clean Air Act — were grandfathered in under that law, allowing them to continue to pollute using terribly out of date technology. In fact, regulations actually punish power companies for trying to update these plants, because if they do, they immediately fall under the Clean Air Act and must be brought up to code. Easier to leave them in the same state they've been in since the 1950's.

But now the EPA is cracking down for real. Most power companies, recognizing that coal kills tens of thousands a year with direct health impacts, are playing along.

But not American Electric Power. In an all-out PR blitz designed to keep its dirtiest, most lethal power plants on-line at any cost, the company has made sure that editorials appear in local media outlets in Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia (also), all states that are home to some of its 11 aging coal fired power plants. These are the plants AEP will shut down or downsize, unless, the company argues, the EPA could just take a chill pill.

Fortunately, the EPA has responded to the charges that these plant closures will lead to job losses — a red herring when you compare the negligible number of jobs represented by each MW of coal-fired power.

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“These long-overdue Clean Air Act standards will slash hazardous emissions of mercury and other acid gases, preventing thousands of asthma and heart attacks and premature deaths,” according to an e-mail message attributed to Roy Seneca, EPA Region 3 press officer in the Office of Public Affairs.


“The standard leverage existing American-made pollution control technologies that are already deployed at over half of the nation’s coal and oil-fired power plants — and will result in thousands of jobs across the country as workers install the technologies at plants,” according to Seneca’s e-mail response.