Statement by Brownie Carson to the Board of Environmental Protection
The Natural Resources Council has been grappling with the question of how to bring clean air to Maine for a long time. During my 17 years at the Council, we have participated as an intervener in many licensing proceedings, and we have commented on many proposed rules. We worked with Senator George Mitchell and his staff, as did many others, on the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. Our goal has always been clean, healthy air for Maine’s people 365 days a year.
Clean air is important to Maine people. There are thousands of asthmatics for whom high ozone days mean severe limitations on outdoor activity; many use inhalers; others (estimates range as high as 1600 per year) visit hospital emergency rooms. Joan Benoit Samuelson often speaks of being able to feel the effects of ozone/smog as she runs along coastal roads. And many of us have seen the haze shrouding Casco Bay and Penobscot Bay from hills and mountain tops along the coast, including those in Acadia National Park. We need clean air to protect our health and our environment. On too many days, we don’t have it.
The decision you make today will have a significant impact on the quality of Maine’s air in the future. On behalf of the members of the Natural Resources Council and all Maine citizens, I ask you to hold firmly to the board’s courageous preliminary decision of last June-rejecting the proposal before you today, and in favor of full, on-site cleanup of Maine’s largest single source of air pollution.
The choice before you is clear: whether to require FPL Energy, soon to be the largest utility company in the US, to install modern, readily available, cost effective pollution control equipment at Wyman Station, or this Board will allow the company to do less for Maine — a partial on-site pollution reduction and participation in a complex, untested and, we believe, seriously flawed trading program.
We urge you to stay with your preliminary decision for four reasons:
1. Maine must be a leader in the New England region – and the country – in air pollution clean up. We must be accountable to our citizens and our neighbors (including those in Atlantic Canada) for reducing levels of pollution from sources within our borders.
2. The NOx pollution from Wyman Station blows, on prevailing winds, across the mid-coast region, Penobscot Bay, Acadia Park and Downeast communities. Both the people and environment in these areas are harmed by this pollution. The Board has the ability to take an affirmative step to reduce that pollution, and we urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity.
3. Throughout the history of the Clean Air Act, industry has repeatedly inflated the cost of retrofits or installing pollution control technology. Based on information in the record before this Board, FPL Energy has followed this unfortunate pattern. The cost of installing SCR technology, based upon experience in other states and information supplied by the EPA, is substantially less than claimed by FPLE. The BEP has a responsibility to the people of Maine to require full, on-site clean up of Wyman’s NOx emissions at the “highly cost effective” rate described by EPA.
4. There is nothing in the record before the BEP to assure members of the Board, or the citizens of Maine, that pollution credit purchases or trades by FPLE will, in fact, help clean up Maine’s air to the same extent that known, actual pollution reductions at Wyman will. Given this uncertainty, the Board should opt for the strategy that it can be sure will benefit Maine people and our environment.
Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on behalf of the Council’s 5,000 members.