Electric Power and the Environment
United States Office of Science and Technology Energy Policy Staff
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The report proposes a four-part program for resolving the apparent conflict between power needs and environmental protection. In essence, we recommend: (1) long-range planning of utility expansions on a regional basis at least 10 years ahead of construction, (2) participation in the planning by the environmental protection agencies and notice to the public of plant sites at least 5 years in advance of construction, (3) pre-construction review and approval of all new large power facilities by a public agency at the state or regional level, or by the federal government if the states fail to act, (4) an expanded program of research and development aimed at better pollution controls, underground high voltage power lines, improved generation techniques, and advanced siting approaches so as to minimize the environmental problems inherent in existing technology. Our basic conclusions is that with a program of long-range planning in which the environmental protection agencies participate at an early stage, most of the siting problems could be resolved well in advance of construction timetables. The detailed review of plants immediately prior to construction could then be expected to proceed in a timely way. And with an accelerated research program, the technology should be available in the future to permit greater flexibility in site selection and minimize the undesirable effects in the site selected.