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Romney Can Do Little to Curb Green Rules, says Utility CEO: The Grid

October 19, 2012

Romney Can do Little to Curb Green Rules, Utility CEO Says

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on August 2, 2012 in Golden, Colorado. Among the rules that would be “on the fence” if Romney takes over the White House are certain environmental protections. Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Even if elected president, Republican Mitt Romney can do little to reverse regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency,  according to an executive of a U.S. utility investing in pollution controls.

The EPA’s limits on mercury, sulfur dioxide and other emissions will be “difficult to roll back,” said William Spence, chief executive officer of Allentown, Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp. He cited years of court cases over those regulations as one of the reasons.

Among the rules that would be “on the fence” if Romney takes over the White House, Spence mentioned greenhouse-gas emission limits for new plants and coal-ash rules.

PPL, which owns power plants in Kentucky, Montana and Pennsylvania, is “well equipped” to meet the EPA restrictions after spending $2.6 billion in Pennsylvania and $2.3 billion in Kentucky, Spence told reporters in Washington today.

In the campaign, Romney has said he would eliminate regulations that stifle business growth and job creation. Donations from energy and natural-resource interests to Romney are four times higher than those to President Barack Obama’s campaign, according to, a Washington-based campaign finance watchdog group.

“As an industry, I mean, if you look at how we’ve improved the air quality over the last decade or two, I don’t know the exact number, but it’s 60 to 70 percent improvement,” Spence said today. “I think it’s pretty darn good.”

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