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Abstract

Environmental activists considered the shutdown of the Potomac Station a victory for environmental sustainability and a victory for the cause of clean air. Additionally, citizens of Alexandria, Virginia found this to be a victory over the “outdated” polluting coal burning power plant. Looking at the history of the Potomac Station, however, shows that without significant increases in transmission capacity to the mid-Atlantic, the Potomac Station could never have been shut down. This article addresses the case of the Potomac Station and the role of the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the shutdown of the Potomac Station to show that without an expansion in transmission capacity, the environmental concerns would not be enough to shut down the Potomac Station.

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