Energy and Commerce Leaders Press Secretary Chu on Reliability Impacts of EPA's Power Sector Rules

March 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee continue to press the administration to provide information on the effects of EPA's new power sector rules. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu today requesting detailed information about how EPA's regulations could affect electricity prices and the reliability of our nation's electricity supply.
During a recent hearing, Secretary Chu indicated that DOE had provided technical information to EPA about how EPA's Utility MACT would affect grid reliability. Members seek access to the reliability information DOE provided to EPA and also request additional information concerning the role DOE has played in the development of EPA's power sector rules. DOE is directed by statute to "promote the interests of consumers through the provision of an adequate and reliable supply of energy at the lowest reasonable cost." Chu's testimony to the committee, however, suggests DOE's role in the development of EPA's rules has been very limited despite significant concerns about the potential reliability impacts of the rules.
Members are concerned that President Obama's administration is moving forward with its aggressive regulatory agenda without fully assessing how new environmental rules may affect our nation's power supply and the economy. Yesterday, EPA released a new proposed rule establishing greenhouse gas standards for power plants, yet it remains unclear how these new standards, taken together with other EPA power sector rules, will impact electric reliability and electricity prices.

The administration is setting its energy policy through its overreaching environmental policies. EPA's Utility MACT rule is so expensive it is accelerating the retirement of the nation's exiting coal fleet. Additionally, both the Utility MACT rule and proposed rule for new utility greenhouse gas standards are so stringent either rule will effectively prohibit any new coal-fired power plants from being built.

Before his appointment, Secretary Chu stated that, "Coal is my worst nightmare." It appears EPA may share that point of view based on its actions that are likely to end coal-fired generation in the U.S.
For a copy of the letter, click here.