Committee Leaders Request Withdrawal of EPA’s Proposed Power Plant Standards Citing Prohibition Under Energy Policy Act

November 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today wrote to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concerns regarding EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas New Source Performance Standards for new power plants that would require the installation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that are not commercially viable. The members believe the proposed standards go beyond the scope of the EPA’s legal authority and are requesting the proposed rule be withdrawn.

EPA is proposing standards pursuant to Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, which provides that emissions standards must be achievable using “adequately demonstrated” technologies. EPA maintains that CCS technologies for coal-fired power plants have been “adequately demonstrated” based on three government-funded projects under construction or planned that are receiving assistance under the Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) and one other small-scale Canadian government-funded project. EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe confirmed the agency uses these projects as the basis for its determination during questioning at yesterday’s Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing. While EPA is using these projects to justify its proposed standards, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 prohibits EPA from considering technology used at CCPI projects as being “adequately demonstrated” for purposes of Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. Based on these facts, the committee leaders concluded, “Under these provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, EPA’s consideration of CCPI projects to determine that CCS for coal-fired power plants is ‘adequately demonstrated’ is prohibited.”

In the letter to McCarthy, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and subcommittee Vice Chairman Steve Scalise (R-LA) wrote, “In light of these statutory prohibitions, we request that the EPA’s proposed rule, which has not yet been published in the Federal Register, be withdrawn. This will ensure that the agency does not propose standards beyond its legal authority. This will also ensure that stakeholders and the public will not have to incur additional costs to respond to a proposal that contravenes applicable law.”

For a full copy of the letter to EPA, click HERE.

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