Energy and Power Subcommittee Discusses EPA MACT Rules, Examines Feasibility of Timing and Standards

April 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today convened a hearing to discuss recent EPA rulemakings relating to utilities, cement manufacturing plants, and boilers.

"Today, we focus on regulations that make it more expensive to generate energy, including through the use of coal, and also make it more expensive to remain competitive in a global economy," said Whitfield. "That is why EPA's extremely stringent regulations are concerning, especially given the state of the economy.   And that is why a balanced compliance plan is so crucial to our economic recovery."

"The goal is not to repeal these regulations. It is to advance them in a reasonable way - regulations that reduce emissions without reducing manufacturing activity and jobs or creating other undue hardships," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).

The subcommittee heard testimony on the economic impacts and the timelines for implementing these rules. Several witnesses testified that the EPA's rules, as currently contemplated, would raise consumers' energy bills and eliminate American jobs if they are not modified to provide more time and flexibility to ensure compliance. Industry representatives testified that the rules would result in large-scale plant or facility closures and stressed the need for more reasonable timelines and for rules which set achievable standards. 

Executive Chairman of DTE Energy, Anthony Earley, Jr., believes that economic growth and environmental progress are not mutually exclusive. "I firmly believe that progress on the environment needs to continue," said Earley. "But it needs to continue in a rational way. It needs to continue at a pace that can be efficiently and cost-effectively managed. It needs to be continued in a way that provides measurable environmental and health benefits while not jeopardizing the economy."

Not only will these rules drive up the cost of energy, but they will also drive up the cost of manufacturing. Aris Papadopoulus, Chairman of the Portland Cement Association called the regulations a "hidden tax" on domestic industry. "In the end, neither the economy nor the environment win. American jobs and investment are lost while greater amounts of pollutants are emitted offshore," said Papadopoulus.

Whitfield stated that he is committed to working with his colleagues across the aisle on legislation to address the challenges associated with these proposed or recently finalized rules and work towards more common-sense solutions.