I was hired by a coal fired power plant to assist them in changing its mercury emissions allocation. The issue involved EPA regulations that mandated DEP develop regulations to reduce mercury emissions. Unfortunately, the base years that DEP chose were ones in which a prior owner operated the plant at minimal capacity thereby artificially setting the mercury emissions at an unattainable level even using best available technology. I convinced DEP to alter their base year, thereby increasing the plant’s base year allocation.
Due to my success, they continued to retain my services and I continued to learn more about their operations in general and, more importantly, to find ways in which to help them to become more successful. I take pride in wanting to be an integral part of my client’s business inside and out so I know what can help them or hurt them.
To expand upon the example, now that we changed the base year allocation, they now had to find the funding to install the equipment. At that time, Governor Rendell was spearheading a $625 million-dollar grant program for clean alternative energy thru the Legislature. The idea of using money from this pot to help coal-fired power plants to stay in business was laughed at and strongly opposed by Democrats. However, I convinced Republicans to vote yes on an amendment to the legislation knowing they would vote no on the bill on final passage. The Amendment inserted a $25 million grant to help put on emission controls for coal-fired power plants. The effort took a lot of strategic maneuvers and the right timing to pull off, but in the end, we were successful.
A few years later the same client was seeking financing packages to convert from coal to natural gas. However, they needed an extra carrot to sweeten the deal. At that time the Legislature was expanding the Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ – tax-free zone for 10 years) for the Shell cracker plant and to create new zones across the Commonwealth. It took me six months to convince my client how beneficial this would be for them, but once they realized it would save them tens of millions of dollars, they got onboard quickly and we started to lobby for one of the KOEZ designations. First, I approached Governor Corbett’s top legislative executive deputy secretaries about the idea and was told absolutely no way would the Administration pick winners and losers for a power plant even when the remaining 100+ acreage would be used for industrial development and create jobs. Over the next six months, we met with the local government official and others to get their buy-in which is a requirement. We obtained the support of all their elected officials, school district, and economic development corporations and used them to push hard on the administration until we obtained a KOEZ designation. The first in history for a power plant.
Because I care and I have a proven track record of making an impact and influencing the right people at the right time. Because I don’t like “no” for an answer.