Committee’s Oversight Identifies Key Legal and Workability Challenges
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today released a new majority staff report outlining critical issues that have been raised during the committee’s hearings and oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, known as the “Clean Power Plan.” This comprehensive analysis provides a detailed description of the proposal, the legislative history of section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, information on the legal issues raised by the proposed rule, and offers examples of key testimony received by the committee.
The Energy and Power Subcommittee has been conducting aggressive oversight of EPA’s proposal since its release in June 2014, including hearings with testimony from EPA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and state energy and environmental regulators. As a result of this oversight, the committee has as established the following five preliminary conclusions as outlined in the report:
- There are fundamental legal questions about the EPA’s authority to regulate in this area and, assuming such authority, the scope of that authority;
- EPA’s plan would transform federal and state decision-making concerning the transmission and delivery of electric power in the United States;
- Many of the key assumptions in the EPA’s proposed “building blocks” are unrealistic;
- The proposal would not be workable for potentially many states because of a host of implementation challenges; and
- The accelerated timeline for completing the rulemaking appears inadequate to respond fully to all substantive comments.
“It seems like the deeper we dig into this proposal, the more problems we uncover,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “The administration is trying to push through an unprecedented plan that will fundamentally change the way we generate and consume electricity. And while EPA’s legal authority remains in question, the consequences for consumers and our economy are certain – higher prices, fewer jobs, and reduced reliability. A runaway regulatory train is barreling toward us, and we must do everything we can to stop it.”
“We have conducted extensive oversight of this proposal, and our work is not finished. EPA has not provided the true cost and consequences of its clean power plan, nor have they adequately explained how the agency will address the myriad of legal and feasibility issues,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “This Administration’s extreme actions at EPA are being implemented because of President Obama’s view that climate is the most important issue that is facing mankind. While we all agree that climate is changing, we simply cannot agree with his plan which will dramatically increase electricity costs, affect the reliability of the grid system, and will create additional obstacles to economic growth. We will continue to press the administration for answers and hold EPA accountable under the law.”
To read the full report, click HERE.