- Ameren Corp. became one of the first regulated investor-owned utilities (IOU) to openly attack the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to cut U.S. CO2 emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
- Ameren chose to use the EPA’s Denver public hearing, one of four across the U.S. on the new rule, to argue EPA should reconsider its interim 2020 deadline and postpone its 2030 deadline to 2035 to save $4 billion that will otherwise be lost to disruptions of financing strategies and depreciation schedules.
- An Ameren spokesperson said the company has not decided whether to join the legal challenge already proposed by the Partnership for a Better Energy Future for when the rule is finalized next year but said Ameren does not believe EPA has the authority from Congress to impose the rule.
Ameren Missouri CEO Warner Baxter called the EPA rule "currently unworkable" in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
While most IOUs are somewhat insulated financially by their natural gas and renewables portfolios and the law's flexible requirements, Ameren Missouri gets more than half of its generating capacity from coal. Ameren, which operates the vertically integrated Ameren Missouri and a distribution-only Illinois subsidiary, echoed the others in arguing the rule will increase customer electricity costs, raise system reliability risks, cause job losses, and hurt the U.S. economy.
Ameren also claims it has its own greenhouse gas reduction plan that would save customers “billions of dollars” by allowing the scheduled retirement of coal plants and the addition of renewables.
Hundreds supported and attacked the proposal at the Denver meeting, with opposition coming from fossil-dependent industries such as coal and mining, and from smaller, more coal-dependent municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. Southern Company also criticized the EPA rule in Denver but a Sierra Club spokesperson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Ameren’s remarks stood out.