Letter - Environment Updates

Apr 9, 2024
Press Release

Rodgers, Capito, and Wicker Lead Amicus Brief Challenging EPA’s Overreaching So-Called ‘Good Neighbor’ Rule

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) led 26 of their colleagues in filing a bicameral amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit in support of state and industry challengers to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) so-called “Good Neighbor” air rule that targets American power production and burdens states with misguided air regulations. “Acting well beyond its delegated powers under the [Clean Air Act], EPA’s Rule proposes to remake the energy sector in the affected states toward the Agency’s preferred ends. The Rule is part of the broader joint EPA-White House Strategy that oversteps the Agency’s authority by concurrently developing regulations under three separate environmental statutes. It does so not to meet any of the statutes’ individual ends but to transform the power sector. "The group of regulations—including the Rule—are designed to hurriedly rid the U.S. power sector of fossil fuels by sharply increasing the operating costs for fossil fuel-fired power plant operators, forcing the plants’ premature retirement,” the brief reads in part. BACKGROUND: The so-called “Good Neighbor” rule imposes overreaching emissions requirements on power plants, natural gas pipeline assets, and industrial plants, like steel, cement, and paper production facilities in 23 states. Other federal courts have already frozen implementation of the rule in 12 states. Despite active Supreme Court proceedings that may halt implementation of the rule nationwide, the EPA has remained committed to the illegal rule and recently proposed to add five more states to the program.  In June 2023 , Capito joined Wicker in introducing a formal challenge to the rule through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval.  In June 2023, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) also introduced H.J.Res. 69, a formal challenge to the rule through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval.  In June 2022 , Ranking Member Capito sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan outlining serious concerns with the proposed “Good Neighbor Plan.”  Ranking Member Capito has criticized the EPA’s proposed “Good Neighbor Plan” during EPW hearings in March 2023 , July 2022 , and May 2022 , and in an op-ed .  In November 2023 , Chairs Rodgers, Duncan, and Johnson sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expressing concerns with the impact of EPA’s suite of rules, including the “Good Neighbor” Rule (or Interstate Transport Rule), on the reliability of the nation’s electric grid. In addition to Capito and Wicker, senators who signed on to brief include, John Barrasso, (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and John Thune (R-SD). In addition to Rodgers, House members who signed on to the brief include, Rick Allen (R-GA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), John Curtis (R-UT), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Richard Hudson (R-NC), John James (R-MI), John Joyce (R-PA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Greg Pence (R-IN), August Pfluger (R-TX), Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Randy Weber (R-TX).  Full text of the brief is available here .

Apr 5, 2024
Press Release

E&C Republicans Press EPA for Information on Clean School Bus Program that Picks Winners and Losers

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, & Critical Materials Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan regarding the agency’s Clean School Bus Program. KEY EXCERPT:   “Alarming information about this program continues to emerge. In particular, the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has flagged serious shortcomings in the program that create significant vulnerabilities to waste, fraud, and abuse. The EPA’s own reporting on the program reveals that numerous award recipients encountered difficulty utilizing the funding they were awarded. Additionally, the EPA continues to administer the program in a manner that favors the use of electric school buses over other types of buses that are eligible for funding under the program.”  CHALLENGES TO IMPLEMENT:   Of almost 400 selectees under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate program 46 selectees withdrew from the program.  The most common reasons provided for withdrawal were school boards voting against the projects for reasons including difficulties coordinating with electric utilities, potentially lengthy and costly electric infrastructure upgrades required to install electric vehicle supply equipment, and hesitancy about maintenance and range issues associated with electric buses.  The OIG concluded in a December 2023 audit that “the agency may be unable to effectively manage and achieve the program mission unless local utility companies can meet increasing power and supply demands for electric buses.”  The OIG noted that establishing charging stations and connecting them to power lines could take approximately twelve to twenty-four months.   Stakeholders reported that infrastructure to support 25 buses or more demands a more complex electrical setup, which can take a year to construct.  POTENTIAL FOR WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE:   In December 2023, the OIG issued a Management Implication Report that highlighted serious problems with the Clean School Bus Program.   The OIG “identified concerns regarding the EPA’s lack of robust verification mechanisms within the Clean School Bus rebate and grant application process, which led to third parties submitting applications on behalf of unwitting school districts, applicants not being forthright or transparent, entities self-certifying applications without having corroborating supporting documentation, and entities being awarded funds and violating program requirements.”  The OIG further stated, “Our initial investigation of its protocols found that the Clean School Bus Program is rife with potentially inaccurate information” and that “the EPA uses few mechanisms to verify the accuracy of application contents and relies on the applicant’s self-certification of all aspects of the application,” including the applicant’s eligibility for the program, satisfaction of vehicle-use requirements, and the identity of the school district the replacement buses funded by the program will serve.  The OIG also found that an administrative entity with zero students was selected to receive a rebate, despite it seeking funding for buses that were ineligible for the program.   Some recipients selected to receive rebates under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate program later declined the funding.   These withdrawals accounted for $38 million of awards, which the OIG stated lengthened program timetables and created confusion.  EPA PICKING WINNERS AND LOSERS:   The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) directed the EPA to award grants, rebates, and contracts to replace existing school buses with both zero-emission buses and clean school buses.  The IIJA defines clean school buses as school buses that reduce emissions and operate partly or entirely using an alternative fuel, or zero-emission buses.   The Committee has previously voiced concerns about the EPA's bias towards electric buses while ignoring the benefits of other clean school buses, concerns that persist today.   According to information provided by the agency, “As of January 2024, the EPA has awarded approximately $1.84 billion to fund 5,103 clean school buses—96 percent of which are electric—and related charging infrastructure at 642 school districts in most states and territories, and at schools operated by federally recognized Tribes.”   Under the 2023 Clean School Bus Rebates program, the EPA continues to offer maximum awards for fully electric school buses that are several times larger than the maximum award amount for other types of clean school buses.  Additionally, under the Clean School Bus program, the EPA continues to fund charging infrastructure for electric vehicles but not propane or compressed natural gas fueling infrastructure.  Under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate program, the maximum bus funding amount for a class 7+ zero-emission bus was $375,000, and the maximum amount for a propane class 7+ propane bus was $30,000.  The EPA reported, “The majority of awarded electric school buses cost at or near $375,000, while many awarded propane buses cost around $150,000.”  In other words, the maximum rebate amount seemingly covered the entire cost of an electric bus but covered only a fraction of a propane bus.  CLICK HERE to read the letter.

Feb 27, 2024
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Carter Press EPA For Answers Over Hiring Nearly 2,000 New Agency Employees

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan regarding the agency’s recent hiring blitz. The radical and partisan Inflation Reduction Act gave the EPA an unprecedented funding boost, which has led to the hiring of nearly 2,000 new agency employees.   As first reported by Breitbart:   “House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) have requested detailed information about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to carry out President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda.” […] “Despite their names, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as well as the Inflation Reduction Act both contain massive carveouts to boost the green industry.   “In a similar fashion, the $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act would spend hundreds of billions of dollars on climate change.”   The Chairs are seeking answers to the following questions:  The total number of employees working at the EPA’s headquarters. Please include a breakdown of the total number of full time equivalent (FTE) employees at each level of the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of employees working in each EPA regional office. Please include a breakdown of the total number of FTE employees at each level of the GS pay scale, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of FTE employees, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, employed within each of the following: Office of the Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, Office of General Counsel, Office of Inspector General, Office of International and Tribal Affairs, Office of Land and Emergency Management, Office of Mission Support, Office of Research and Development, and the Office of Water. Please include a breakdown of the total number of employees at each level of the GS pay scale in the various offices, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  Regarding the Office of Research and Development, please provide the total number of employees within each of the following: Office of Science Advisor, Policy, and Engagement, Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling, Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure, Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment, and the Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of employees in each Program Office Laboratory and Regional Laboratory, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  A breakdown of Offices where the 1,977 new employees are employed, the level of the GS pay scale at which they were hired, and whether any of them are contractors paid with EPA funds.  The number of employees that left the agency in 2023, including a breakdown of the GS scale for departing employees, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds.    The total number of contractors working for the EPA and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of EPA special consultants who are compensated under 42 USC 209(f).  CLICK HERE to read the full article from Breitbart. CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 

Jan 29, 2024
Press Release

Chairs of Energy and Commerce, Science, and Natural Resources Committees Open Investigation into Chinese Influence in American Energy and Environmental Policy

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK), and House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-AR) sent a letter to Energy Foundation China (EFC) President Zi Chou, requesting documents related to grants and financial resources provided to American organizations. The request comes after reports that EFC is funneling money to support US-based climate initiatives.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT :  “ China could greatly improve its economic and geopolitical position should renewable energy resource use and electrification increase in the United States . China dominates global renewable energy product supply chains, such as those for batteries, solar panels, and electrolyzers. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also observed, 'China is central to global supply chains in a range of technology sectors, including semiconductors, critical minerals, batteries, solar panels, and pharmaceuticals.' It concluded, 'China’s dominance in these markets could pose a significant risk to U.S. and Western manufacturing and consumer sectors if the Government of China was able to adeptly leverage its dominance for political or economic gain.’ China has already attempted to influence United States policy and opinion regarding China through covert influence and exploit perceived societal divisions. As such, we are alarmed by reports of China-affiliated organizations attempting to influence United States energy policy. ”  BACKGROUND :  EFC is a Beijing-headquartered organization with a stated mission of furthering China’s sustainable energy development and employs staff with significant ties to the Chinese Government.  EFC’s President and CEO previously served as Deputy Director General of China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, under the Chinese government’s National Development and Reform Commission.  EFC’s Environmental Management Program director, Mr. Liu Xin, previously served as Deputy Director of the Regional Air Quality Management Division of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.  Prior to 2019, the organization operated jointly with the United States Energy Foundation.  EFC has awarded substantial funding to other organizations seeking to shape United States energy policy.  According to tax records, in 2021, EFC provided $195,000 to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) “to support education, analysis, and outreach to build a clean energy future.”  In 2021, EFC also gave the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) $820,000 to, among other things, “support education and analysis to phase out coal.”  The RMI has produced a study that it and other advocates for electrification have cited in pushing to eliminate the use of gas stoves.  The Department of Energy cited this study in one of its recent energy efficiency proposed rulemakings, and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm also posted it to her account on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating that Americans would have greater access to electric and induction cooktops.   CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 

Chairs Rodgers and Johnson Urge EPA to Stop Targeting American Manufacturers with its Repeated Regulatory Overreach

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH) sent the following letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan demanding that the agency go back to the drawing board on its proposed risk management regulations given the detrimental impact the current proposal would have on American manufacturing and jobs.   BACKGROUND:   On August 31, 2022, the EPA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register entitled “Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act; Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention” or “RMP Proposal.”  This proposed RMP mandate would require manufacturers to publicly disclose information on vulnerabilities and extremely hazardous substances, which could be exploited to attack the facility or undermine the ability of the local community to respond to an attack.     The proposal also expands the EPA’s involvement in private companies’ facility operations and labor relations practices, something Congress has repeatedly rejected.  The Chairs expressed these and other serious concerns with the RMP proposal and the process by which it was developed, a process that lacked transparency and accountability to the public. They urged Administrator Regan to withdraw and repropose the proposed rule.  KEY QUOTE:    We write to you to express our concerns with the EPA proposal and the process used to develop it, and we urge you to withdraw and repropose this rule.   […]   As part of the rulemaking process, EPA should select only those requirements that make significant, cost-effective safety improvements, and not impractical and ineffective mandates, which are ideologically-driven.     Before finalizing any further changes to the RMP program, we urge the EPA to repropose the RMP rulemaking to align it with existing law and to solicit more information from the public, in part based on the issues identified in this letter.   Chairs Rodgers and Johnson asked Administrator Regan to provide answers to the following questions by February 1, 2024:  The RMP Proposal seems to suggest the mere occurrence of any accident is a justification for regulation. Is the EPA’s intention to promote plant designs that eliminate not just “human factors” but also those that are beyond any person’s control? Can such a facility containing Appendix A chemicals even operate if such assumptions are the purpose of the program’s rules?  RMP rules need to be “reasonable” and “practicable.” Yet, the RMP Proposal did not evaluate the costs of many of its provisions, including the proposed natural hazards and proposed gap analysis requirements for Process Hazard Analyses. In fact, the EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis states that the EPA “has no data or empirical estimates of the precise impact of each rule provision on the probability and magnitude of an accident, or on improved efficiency due to better information.” How does the EPA believe it is complying with the statutory directive on reasonableness when the EPA’s proposal does not demonstrate that the EPA understands what a reasonable universe might include? Is the EPA’s failure to conduct a fulsome cost-benefit analysis for the RMP Proposal a sign that the EPA sees RMP as a zero-risk program?  On October 5, 2023, the American Water Works Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIORA) to discuss this rulemaking, In a memorandum reiterating points made by those associations to OIRA, it states: “ EPA states the total cost of the rule has increased by $181.4 million (up from $75.8M to $257.2M) and the total cost for State/Local entities (which includes drinking water and wastewater utilities) is now $18.9M, but as proposed was less than $5M.“  On October 5, 2023, the American Water Works Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to discuss this rulemaking. If this is the case, the EPA — after its truncated public comment period closed — greatly expanded the scope of new regulatory requirements beyond the $75 million annual cost included in its initial proposed rule and without giving the public a basis for the updated cost analysis. Does the EPA now estimate the annual cost of the RMP Proposal to exceed $75 million? If yes, how much is the current estimate? What is the reason for the increase in the cost estimate? Will the EPA publicly notice and meaningfully reopen the comment period to allow interested parties a chance to examine and provide expert feedback on these changes?  Please detail all conversations and coordination the EPA has had with OSHA on the RMP Proposal and the intersection between RMP and OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) program, including any efforts to prevent duplication and overlap between RMP and PSM programs. What efforts were undertaken to identify and avoid redundancy or conflicts between provisions in the RMP Proposal and existing laws administered and enforced by the EPA or other Federal departments or agencies?  Regarding the protection of sensitive facility and materials information that could be used to destroy a facility and community or disrupt emergency responses to such an event: Please identify those provisions that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice believe satisfy their decades-long-concern about inappropriate sharing of sensitive facility information. Please state whether any other law enforcement, defense, or intelligence agency raised concerns about the information disclosure provisions in the RMP Proposal. If the EPA believes currently operating facilities should use a STAA, why are the facilities in just a few sectors of the economy required to use a STAA?   Under the Emergency Planning and Community Response Act, local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) —are responsible for developing community response plans. The RMP Proposal appears to make RMP facilities responsible for the content of the community response plan. How does every RMP facility “ensure” the contents of a response plan if the facility is not a part or the majority on the LEPC? Is the RMP Proposal contravening local decision-making and resources, with this proposed requirement?  The “retail facility” definition for RMP and PSM has been in place for many years and is well understood by the industry. The RMP Proposal, though, proposes to amend the current RMP rule definition of “retail facility” and to add the requirement that “more than one-half of the annual income (in the previous calendar year) is obtained from direct sales.” Please state the justification to support claims of “uncertainty” that necessitate the proposed change.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 

Chairs Rodgers and Johnson Demand EPA End Efforts to Circumvent Congress to Implement Biden’s Rush-to-Green Agenda

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, & Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Michael Regan urging the agency to end it’s effort to circumvent Congress in order to advance the Biden administration’s rush-to-green agenda.   KEY QUOTE:    “Regulating and responding to climate change risks is a policy question for Congress to legislate and the enforcement office at the EPA should not be reimagined to achieve an Administration’s political objectives. We are concerned about far-reaching effects of the aggressive enforcement set forth in this memorandum.”  BACKGROUND:   On September 28, 2023, the EPA released a memorandum on the EPA’s Climate Enforcement and Compliance Strategy.  The memorandum directs all the EPA’s enforcement and compliance offices to prioritize and address the mitigation of climate change “in every matter within their jurisdiction.”  The memorandum appears to direct the use of EPA enforcement authorities in a way that expands them to target disfavored industries or businesses.    Congress did not authorize the EPA to sanction economic sectors for merely operating, nor does it suggest the EPA use the law to remedy matters not stated in the statute.  Given this, the members asked Secretary Regan to respond to provide the following information by January 29 , 2024:  Please identify all of the statutory authorities the EPA is relying on to implement each of the directives in the OECA memorandum. Which environmental statutes authorize the EPA to mitigate for past harms? In cases involving violations of statutes that do not provide such authority, on what authority will the EPA rely to seek mitigation? What is the EPA’s authority to include a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) in a settlement?  The OECA memorandum states that “…EPA’s enforcement and compliance program will prioritize enforcement actions to reduce emissions of other GHGs by addressing illegal activity related to carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.” By targeting and prioritizing these enforcement issues, is the EPA considering these compliance violations the most significant threat to public health? Which environmental violations is the EPA de-prioritizing? Is it now the EPA’s policy that enforcement efforts related to climate change, as outlined in the memorandum, should take priority over enforcement actions focused on federal statutory violations, such as those related to hazardous waste cleanups or cost-effective water pollution abatement efforts?  The OECA memorandum directs enforcement staff to consider different types of climate mitigation remedies throughout all case resolution efforts, including through SEPs in civil cases. The EPA’s SEP policy, updated in 2015, establishes the legal guidelines for utilizing SEPs in enforcement settlements; including that all SEPs are required to have a significant “nexus.” The policy defines “nexus” as a significant relationship between the violation and the proposed project. The EPA’s prosecutorial discretion to settle enforcement actions does not extend to the inclusion of SEPs that do not have a nexus in the violations being resolved. The memorandum appears to equate mitigation and SEPs. Does the EPA now take the position that it is appropriate to use a SEP for mitigation? Please state, as it relates to the memorandum, how the EPA defines what constitutes a significant nexus under EPA’s SEP policy. Will the Department of Justice adhere to the same policies when enforcing on behalf of the EPA? As it relates to the use of a SEP, how will the EPA ensure “climate mitigation remedies” have a significant nexus to the underlying statutory violation? If there is no significant nexus, will EPA officials rely on the authority of a court to evade legal constraints on the EPA’s own settlement authority? Please provide examples of completed enforcement actions where the EPA has used mitigation remedies through SEPs in settlement cases.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.  

Nov 21, 2023
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers, Duncan, and Johnson Seek Answers from Secretary Granholm Over Critical Materials from China

Dangerous Dependence on China for Critical Materials is No Longer a Hypothetical Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Environment, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH) wrote to Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm regarding recent reports that China was cutting off American access to critical minerals that play a significant role in our national security, economy, and as a critical energy resource. KEY LETTER EXCERPTS:   “According to reports, on August 1, 2023, China began cutting off all access to gallium and germanium, a key mineral used for military and energy technologies. On October 20, 2023, China announced that it would limit the export of raw and synthetic graphite, which is essential to manufacture electric motors and batteries. These adversarial actions by China pose a direct threat to our national security and to our energy security.      “ China controls over eighty percent of the world’s gallium. Gallium is vital in our production of semiconductor chips, next-generation missile defense, and radar systems. The use of gallium in the United States has increased and is expected to continue to increase due to its use in light-emitting diodes, which are used in many technologies. Similar to gallium, germanium is vital to the development of radiation detectors, fiber optic cables, and infrared sensors. Both gallium and germanium are listed as critical, of high importance, and at risk of supply disruption.   “ China controls over sixty percent of the world’s graphite and accounts for over thirty percent of graphite imports for the United States. Graphite is the largest component of the lithium-ion battery and is essential in electric vehicle (EV) battery anodes.”   BACKGROUND:   China controls the vast majority of the world’s processing and refining capabilities for critical minerals.  These materials are vital components for technologies of the future, like semiconductors. Access to them is key to ensuring America’s competitive edge and military dominance, as well as securing our energy and manufacturing supply chains.  With the passage of the Energy Act of 2020, Congress recognized the importance of critical minerals to the energy sector and provided the Department of Energy (DOE) with expanded authorities and responsibilities to address supply chain challenges and import dependencies.  To assist with Energy and Commerce’s review of DOE’s statutory authorities and responsibilities—and to ensure the department is addressing the risks associated with reliance upon China for critical minerals—Members asked Secretary Granholm to respond to the following questions by December 6, 2023. Please describe any actions that DOE has already taken or plans to take to address China’s export restrictions of graphite, gallium, and germanium. Please describe the energy sector uses for graphite, gallium, and germanium. Does DOE believe that the China’s export restrictions on critical minerals will negatively impact the domestic manufacturing of batteries, EVs, or other energy technologies? What actions will DOE take to mitigate potential domestic supply shortages of these minerals? What actions has DOE taken to encourage the diversification and expansion of the supply of critical minerals? What actions has DOE taken to reduce U.S. reliance on China for critical minerals, including graphite, gallium, and germanium? What actions has DOE taken to increase the domestic production, processing, and refining of critical minerals, including graphite, gallium, and germanium? Please describe the status and implementation of Title VII of the Energy Act of 2020. CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Secretary Granholm.

Nov 14, 2023
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders Press EPA on Harmful and Unworkable CPP 2.0 Proposal

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH) today sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan calling on the EPA to withdraw the overreaching and unworkable Clean Power Plan 2.0 proposal, which would make electricity less reliable and more expensive for Americans. The letter, sent on behalf of the Republicans on the Oversight and Environment subcommittees, also requests additional information regarding the EPA’s rule development process, which appeared to be riddled with misleading and defective analyses. EXCERPTS FROM THE LETTER: "Like its predecessor, the Clean Power Plan, the CPP2.0 Proposal aims to transform the nation’s electric generation, causing Americans’ utility service to be less reliable and more expensive. In this way, both the Clean Power Plan, which was stayed and later vacated by the Supreme Court, and this CPP2.0 Proposal, vastly exceed the limited authority Congress granted EPA under Clean Air Act Section 111, thereby violating the “major questions” doctrine." […] “ In addition to our concerns with the legality of the EPA’s CPP2.0 Proposal, the EPA’s promulgation of proposals with misleading and defective analyses undermines public trust and creates costly regulatory and legal uncertainty that harms the orderly planning for power generation that is essential to public welfare. The plainly inaccurate discussion about CO2 pipelines adds to serious questions about the analytical quality of the proposed rule. There are myriad other defects. For example, there are widespread concerns about the accuracy of the EPA’s claim that Boundary Dam, the coal fired EGU in Saskatchewan, Canada, has been adequately demonstrated to capture 90 percent of CO2. Even though the plant’s owner filed comments that the EPA was wrong about this assertion.”   BACKGROUND: Under the Clean Power Plan 2.0, the EPA has introduced policy proposals to set strict, costly, and untested standards on both new and existing natural gas and remaining coal generators.  These changes will have a chilling effect on American natural gas and coal—which account for about 60 percent of U.S. electricity generation—making life unaffordable for Americans and increasing risks for blackouts. The EPA’s proposals are legally dubious, scientifically questionable, and pragmatically unworkable.  The letter was sent ahead of an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing today, where members will hear from state officials on how the EPA’s efforts are affecting their ability to provide affordable, reliable energy to power local economies, keep people safe, and preserve livelihoods in their communities. The Chairs requested Administrator Regan provide the following information by November 28, 2023: Describe in detail your Action Development Process (ADP) for developing the regulatory proposals for GHG standards and guidelines for fossil fuel EGUs, including, but not limited to: The date you or your staff initiated the process and the timeline for each step of the process including the options selection briefing package, draft actions, and final drafts at the conclusion of the process; How you developed your regulatory options, including assessment of alternative approaches, the entities with which you consulted, including federal agencies and non-governmental entities, such as utilities, electric generators, pipeline operators, electric grid operators, and electric reliability entities, etc.; Your evaluation of the full costs of infrastructure development and deployment necessary to support your proposed emissions controls technologies and systems, and if you did not conduct such as evaluation, explain why not; How you validate the accuracy of the information in the proposals; How you determined that CCUS for the power sector has been adequately demonstrated based upon the limited performance of cited power plants; Whether any element of your proposal was not subject to the ADP and identify the element; The role of the Executive Office of the President, including the Office of Management and Budget, National Climate Advisors, and any other member of the White House staff, in developing the CPP2.0 Proposal, including after completion of the ADP. Provide all documents the EPA prepared to initiate this regulatory development process, including all preliminary and final Analytic Blueprints and any other planning or guidance documents covering the approach, scope, underlying technical criteria, legal criteria, and review mechanisms the EPA would follow for developing these GHG regulatory proposals, regulatory impact analyses, and Technical Support Documents. Describe why information supplied in the rulemaking docket was not complete at the time of the initial release of the CPP2.0 Proposal. CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Administrator Regan. CLICK HERE to read the statement from Chairs Rodgers and Johnson following the CPP2.0 Proposal announcement. CLICK HERE for information from the June 6th hearing about the Clean Power Plan 2.0. CLICK HERE to read about a recent letter to FERC regarding the risks posed to the grid by CPP 2.0.

Nov 7, 2023

Chairs Rodgers and Johnson to EPA: “President Biden’s Rush to Green Methane Regulations Will Increase Energy Costs and Harm Production”

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH) today sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan requesting additional information regarding how new methane regulations will hurt American families and further weaken America’s energy independence. This letter follows up on a previous letter sent to the EPA on June 9, 2023.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT: “Within the next year, the EPA is planning to finalize multiple connected regulatory actions that will increase costs and reduce the production of American energy. Energy prices are projected to rise for American families because of new methane regulations, expanded emissions monitoring and reporting requirements, and a new tax on methane […] the EPA’s expanded regulatory burden creates substantial legal and regulatory uncertainty, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that a tax on methane emissions will increase operational costs, reduce energy production, and increase the price of natural gas. “The scope, timeline, and legal durability of the EPA’s regulatory actions are unclear, and several of the questions in our June 2023 letter remain unanswered. What is known is that thousands of American jobs and billions of dollars in local economic development could be impacted by the EPA’s actions. Global supply chains remain disrupted, and record inflation has increased prices for equipment and services across the energy sector. If the EPA’s scope and compliance timelines do not account for these realities, it could force energy producers to shut in existing production and lay off workers. We are concerned that small businesses and independent energy producers, who are significant contributors to local economies, could suffer the most.”    The Chairs requested Administrator Regan provide the following information by November 22, 2023:  Please provide an update on the status and timeline of the proposed regulations under Section 111 (b) and (d) of the CAA.   Please provide an update on the status and timeline or the EPA’s plans to expand reporting requirements Subpart W of 40 C.F.R. Part 98.   Please provide an update on the status and timeline on the EPA’s enforcement of the methane tax under the Methane Emissions and Waste Productive Incentive Program.   The EPA’s planned methane regulations, reporting requirements, and taxes are integrally connected.  How does the EPA expect energy producers to plan for compliance with the new methane tax on January 1, 2024, given that the EPA has not finalized the methane regulations and reporting requirements?    How does the EPA interpret the statutory exemptions to the methane tax?   Please explain how the EPA has complied with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) with respect to these various methane proposals.  How is the EPA accounting for supply chain disruptions and inflationary cost increases?    Does the EPA anticipate that new methane regulations will increase prices and reduce the availability of necessary emissions control equipment, such as pneumatics, monitoring devices, and storage vessels? What types of equipment are most difficult to obtain and what are the causes of the supply chain disruptions? How much of the equipment used for methane emissions control and monitoring is domestically produced, and how much is imported? Which countries does the U.S. rely on for imported methane emissions control and monitoring equipment?  Did the EPA review the operator survey of supply chain delays for equipment needed for the EPA Proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) OOOOb Methane Rule?  Please summarize EPA’s response to the concerns raised in the survey and describe how EPA is incorporating data that indicates backorder times for components necessary for compliance could exceed 24 months. CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Administrator Regan.  CLICK HERE to read the previous letter Chairs Rodgers and Johnson sent to Administrator Regan on the EPA’s new methane regulations on June 9, 2023.