Electricity Daily

A Publication of The Electricity Journal

Volume 8, Number 98 Thursday, May 22, 1997

OTAG Goes Down to the Wire On Controls for Power Plants

Despite a marathon, two-day session in Chicago, the Ozone Transport Assessment Group has once again failed to take up the issue of power plant controls. With the final session of the ruling policy group scheduled for June 2 and 3 in Cleveland, the Environmental Protection Agency's OTAG is still soliciting proposals for controls on utilities. These are to be reviewed on May 28 by an all-important joint-session of the subgroups, which, unlike the policy group, include industry representatives.

Having punted on electric power controls, most of the Chicago meeting was spent examining mobile source issues and solving voting procedure problems. Although OTAG has been in existence for over two years, the group has never had to conduct a vote. It seems they ran into problems when many of the representatives of the 37 OTAG states were not sure they had the authority to vote their state's will. Abstentions abounded, and in some cases the majority of votes cast were "abstain." Others voted provisionally, reserving the right to change their vote later. The westernmost states, who thought they had been exempted from OTAG, were particularly puzzled by the process.

With OTAG's looming deadline, procedural voting problems, and no consensus on power plant controls in sight, some observers are predicting that it will simply collapse. Others foresee the autocratic chair of the policy group--Illinois air regulator Mary Gade, who banned Robert's Rules of Order without a vote early in the Chicago session--simply writing the recommendation to the EPA herself.

The Electricity Daily

Publisher: Robert O. Marritz

Editor: Kennedy Maize

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