Quick Hit: Although long overdue, the Bush Administration's NSR recommendations are a step in the right direction to ensuring reliable and affordable supplies of energy for Americans.
After months of delay, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced long awaited reform measures for the New Source Review (NSR) program. The Clinton Administration expanded the scope of this program forcing companies to delay routine maintenance projects and forego the installation of new technologies to improve efficiency. Recognizing the potential for harm from the prior Administration's expansion of this program, President Bush directed the EPA and the Department of Energy to review the NSR program to determine its potential effects on energy supply, investment, market efficiencies, and the environment.
Likewise, Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and John Breaux (D-LA) identified serious problems with the current program stating in correspondence to Vice President Cheney last year that, "unless addressed, the prior Administration's EPA's New Source Review ("NSR") enforcement policies will continue to interfere with our nation's ability to meet our energy and fuel supply needs." EPA's report to the President confirms these concerns. EPA notes that its review of the program "found that the NSR program has impeded or resulted in the cancellation of projects that would maintain or improve reliability, efficiency or safety of existing power plants and refineries."
Although long overdue, the Bush Administration's NSR recommendations are a step in the right direction to ensuring reliable and affordable supplies of energy for Americans. These reforms will provide industry with more regulatory certainty and enhance environmental quality by encouraging pollution prevention projects, energy efficiency improvements and new investments in state of the art technologies at the nation's oldest power plants and factories. The Administration now needs to expedite these reforms that will advance the President's policy to "develop our natural resources and protect our environment."