Energy and Commerce Leaders Press Administration on Reliability Concerns Posed by EPA's Power Sector Rules

November 9, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee continue seeking answers from administration officials about the potential impacts of EPA's power sector rules, sending a pair of letters today exploring how the rules could affect energy security and reliability of the electric grid and other critical infrastructure. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting more information about how EPA's regulations will affect the reliability of our nation's electricity supply.

In the letter to Secretary Napolitano, members expressed specific concerns that EPA's power sector rules, including the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Utility MACT rule, could adversely affect our nation's Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources.

The letter references a recent report, based on EPA modeling and power plant retirement announcements, showing at least 28 GW of generating capacity will close as a result of EPA's new regulations. Members are concerned that the expected plant closures will disrupt the reliability of the electric grid, putting critical infrastructure and the economy at risk.

"Questions have been raised concerning whether EPA has fully assessed how the cumulative effect of these regulations will impact the reliability of the electric grid.  For example, a preliminary analysis completed by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff indicates that EPA regulations could "˜likely' or "˜very likely' close 81 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generating capacity. Similarly, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation found that proposed EPA power sector rules could result in the retirement of 70 GW of generating capacity," wrote Upton, Whitfield and Stearns.  

In the letter to Administrator Jackson, members requested information "regarding the extent to which EPA has consulted with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, North American Electric Reliability Corporation, state public utility commissions, regional transmission organizations, and other regional and local market stakeholders with responsibility to assure an affordable and reliable supply of electricity."

To view the letter to DHS, click here.

To view the letter to EPA, click here.

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