Empire Power Plant meets new EPA regulations
September 2, 2015 21:13 pm CDT
KSNF Action 12
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Congressman Billy Long walked with Empire employees on Monday, listening to how company officials spent top dollar to help the 70-year-old Asbury plant meet the EPA's regulations.
"We're touring some of the manufactures facilities in the area, we think it's great to get out," said Billy Long, congressman.
Empire spent $112 million on a new air quality system after the EPA mandated utilities to either close doors or invest millions of dollars to clean up emissions. Congressmen Long says he understands the regulations, but believes cost should be kept in mind.
"Well, it's a total overreach. Like I said, everyone wants clean air, but when your doing things that are just putting a lot of places out of business that can't even compete, that can't even produce power anymore. A lot of places that are shut down on the East Coast, and we want to make sure that doesn't move in this direction," said Long.
Although it's unclear how much, Empire customers could see a rate increase. Company officials say they empathize with the public, but there are few options.
"I don't like rate increases, my customers don't like rate increases, but I think most people understand when your making investments to comply with the EPA regulations, you really don't have any other choices," said Brad Beecher, President and CEO of Empire.
Long says some customers may be able to afford the hike, but for many, this isn't the case.
"It's the people at the bottom end. They are going to paycheck to paycheck and are trying to scrape by with their family, that are really affected the most by these regulations being put out by the EPA," said Long.