Energy and Commerce Leaders Welcome Court Decision Blocking Costly EPA Power Rule

August 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee welcomed today’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to block implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, one of several stringent new EPA rules affecting power plants that are expected to drive electricity prices higher and put jobs at risk.

“Today’s decision striking down EPA’s costly and unworkable Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is welcome news. This is a win for American families who, because of this rule, faced the threat of higher power bills, less reliable electricity, and job losses,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “CSAPR is just one of several new EPA rules targeting America’s power sector that together will cost our economy tens of billions of dollars and put thousands of jobs at risk. The court ruled today that EPA’s transport rule ‘exceeds the agency’s statutory authority,’ offering another reminder to the American people that President Obama’s EPA is an agency run out of control.”

“I am pleased to see the court stand up to EPA’s dangerous regulatory overreach. The courts have signaled that EPA has gone too far. EPA attempted to override states’ rights, but the court ruled ‘EPA has transgressed statutory boundaries,’” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “EPA has been acting without authority and without consideration of the cumulative costs of its various rules that impact the power sector, which will ultimately cause electricity rates to increase for consumers. It is time for a more commonsense approach to regulation that does not inflict undue harm on our economy. The House-passed TRAIN Act offers a permanent solution to address the EPA’s transport rule and other power sector regulations by ensuring we know the costs and consequences for consumers of these regulations before they are implemented.”

“I’m pleased the court has ruled against this unfair and unworkable regulation. Under EPA’s proposal, Texas and other states would be forced to shoulder a disproportionate percentage of the country’s emissions reductions, threatening thousands of jobs and electric reliability across the state. This decision comes on the heels of last week’s court ruling vacating EPA’s disapproval of the Texas Flexible Permit Program. With these decisions, the courts have reaffirmed states’ authority and slowed EPA’s aggressive regulatory expansion,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX).

NOTE: The opinion reads, “Here, EPA’s Transport Rule exceeds the agency’s statutory authority in two independent respects. First, the statutory text grants EPA authority to require upwind States to reduce only their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment. But under the Transport Rule, upwind States may be required to reduce emissions by more than their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment. EPA has used the good neighbor provision to impose massive emissions reduction requirements on upwind States without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text. Whatever its merits as a policy matter, EPA’s Transport Rule violates the statute. Second, the Clean Air Act affords States the initial opportunity to implement reductions required by EPA under the good neighbor provision. But here, when EPA quantified States’ good neighbor obligations, it did not allow the States the initial opportunity to implement the required reductions with respect to sources within their borders. Instead, EPA quantified States’ good neighbor obligations and simultaneously set forth EPA-designed Federal Implementation Plans, or FIPs, to implement those obligations at the State level. By doing so, EPA departed from its consistent prior approach to implementing the good neighbor provision and violated the Act.

“For each of those two independent reasons, EPA’s Transport Rule violates federal law. Therefore, the Rule must be vacated.”