Congressman Rick Berg on Friday announced the introduction of the “Generator Regulatory Relief Act,” which would stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from imposing new costs on small businesses, schools and energy providers though the over-regulation of generator use.
At Cass County Electric Cooperative in Fargo, N.D. on Friday afternoon, Berg joined local business owners, energy providers, and public school representatives to discuss the impact that new EPA generator rules would have and to announce the introduction of H.R. 3616, the “Generator Regulatory Relief Act.”
A product of Berg’s recent regulations tour and an added component to Berg’s REGS Agenda, this legislation will provide relief from new EPA rules that require the purchase of expensive, federally mandated emissions equipment and impose new reporting requirements on schools and small businesses.
“The Obama administration’s overreaching generator rules are simply another example of how out-of-touch Washington is,” Berg stated. “The EPA’s new rules would burden small businesses, schools, farms and energy providers—many of which are already struggling due to the economy and budget constraints— with thousands of dollars in added, unnecessary compliance costs for generators that are used just a handful of hours each year. North Dakotans are frustrated with the Obama Administration’s regulatory overreach and they’re concerned about how one-size-fits-all rules like this will hurt their small businesses and farms. Through the Generator Regulatory Relief Act and my REGS Agenda, I’ll continue fighting to bring regulatory relief to North Dakotans.”
During his regulations tour, Berg was informed that Fargo Public Schools and more than 90 local businesses face substantial compliance costs as a result of new EPA rules on the use of generators. Under the new rule, the EPA allows for up to 100 hours of generator use, only 15 hours of which can be used for non-emergency purposes, such as peak shaving. The EPA restriction of non-emergency use would cost owners, like the school district, approximately $25,000 per generator to bring them into compliance. The legislation would save small businesses, farms, schools and electric cooperatives these added costs by exempting generators used for emergency use or peak shaving from the EPA rule.
Berg was joined at Friday’s announcement by Marshall Albright, Cass County Electric Cooperative VP of Member & Emergency Services; Dr. Rick Buresh, Fargo Public Schools Superintendent; Jim Frueh, Fargo Public Schools Director of Maintenance & Operations; Mike Preckel, Fargo Holiday Inn General Manager; and Tom Brudwick, Fargo Holiday Inn Chief Engineer.
Here is some background concerning the situation and the bill.
- · Beginning in 2013, the EPA is planning to implement new rules in the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE).
- · Many schools, small businesses, farms, local governments and members of rural electric cooperatives use stationary diesel and natural gas engines to generate electricity during emergency situations such as power outages or during periods of high demand (peak shaving) – sometimes operating as few as 25 hours in a given year. Peak shaving enhances electric reliability by reducing demand on power plants.
- · These new EPA rules will require the purchase of expensive, federally mandated emissions equipment and will impose new reporting requirements on operators. Many schools, small businesses, farms, local governments and members of rural electric cooperatives use these generators and would face these additional costs and reporting requirements. For example, Fargo Public Schools faces costs of up to $25,000 per generator to bring their emergency and peak shaving generators up to new federal standards.
- · Considering the current economy and the budgetary constraints faced by our schools, small businesses and local governments, these institutions and the environment would be better served if this money was spent differently.
- · “The Generator Regulatory Relief Act” would exempt in all existing RICE regulated under NESHAP that are used for emergency and peak shaving.
- · These units were manufactured before June 12, 2006, and many are in their final years of useful life. Stringent regulation is already in place on all new built engines under the new source performance standards (NSPS) and will not be impacted by this legislation. This bill simply lets the existing RICE’s, used for emergency and demand response purposes, regulated under NESHAP to complete their useful life without expensive retrofits.