Committee Leaders Concerned EPA's Utility MACT Rule Will Destroy Jobs, Make Electricity More Expensive, Less Reliable
WASHINGTON, DC - Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today expressed concern over the administration's decision to proceed with a controversial new rule affecting the power plants that supply electricity to American families and businesses. The utility MACT rule, released today by the Environmental Protection Agency, represents one of several new rules that impose billions of dollars of new costs and complex regulatory requirements on America's power sector and threaten affordable and reliable electricity. EPA estimates the rule will cost $9.6 billion annually.
All year, Energy and Commerce Members have pressed the administration to adequately assess EPA's power rules before moving forward to ensure they will not inflict further damage on our economy or electricity supply. Estimates show these new rules could result in up to 183,000 job losses per year. To prevent such disastrous consequences, the House approved a measure this summer providing additional time for implementation of the utility MACT rule until the administration can properly account for its costs and impacts on American jobs, global competitiveness, and energy security. In the interim, all the other EPA regulations affecting power plants would remain in effect. These regulations have already driven down power plant emissions and will continue to do so.
"Electricity not only lights our homes, it powers all sectors of our economy, including our businesses, hospitals, communication systems and critical infrastructure. Analyses predict EPA's rules will force the premature retirement of power plants that are needed to provide affordable, reliable power to consumers and our growing economy. Other plants will require multi-million dollar retrofits that will result in higher electricity bills. I am concerned the administration decided to issue this rule without a comprehensive analysis assessing how it will affect jobs and the price and reliability of electricity. Under the rules, parts of the country face very real threats of rolling brownouts and blackouts. Most concerning is the tremendous impact this rule will have on low-income families who are struggling just to keep the lights on," said Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
"Not only has President Obama's regulatory agenda made it harder for new electricity generation to be built, but these new regulations will increase energy prices for Americans who can least afford to pay more to light and heat their homes, and for businesses that need reliable, affordable energy to compete globally. These rules hurt consumers, they hurt businesses, and they hurt jobs," said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY).
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, regional electric grid operators, and state utility commissions warn the reliability impacts of EPA's regulations cannot be fully understood until the local electric reliability impacts are determined. Regional and local planning authorities have testified these rules will result in significant premature retirements of generating facilities, higher electricity prices, and a less reliable power supply, particularly in those regions heavily dependent on coal-fired generation such as the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast and parts of the Southwest.