• Report: EPA CO2 Rule Is ‘Fundamentally Flawed’

    House Republicans have released a report detailing the “fundamental flaws” in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which orders states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

    “It seems like the deeper we dig into this proposal, the more problems we uncover,” Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement.

    In the report, Republicans argue the rule is legally questionable, structurally “unrealistic” and takes decision-making powers away from the states.

    “The administration is trying to push through an unprecedented plan that will fundamentally change the way we generate and consume electricity,” Upton said. “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.”

    In June, the EPA proposed a rule aiming to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent from existing power plants from 2005 levels by 2030. To complete its goal the EPA ordered states to come up with emissions reductions plans based on four building blocks. But many states and Republican lawmakers have railed against the plan, saying the EPA is overstepping its authority.

    The EPA and environmental groups, however, argue the rule is necessary to improve public health and spur other countries to fight global warming. The plan will force more coal-fired power plants to shut down and spur investments in green energy, according to Clean Power Plan supporters.

    “Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life,” EPA chief Gina McCarthy said on the rule’s release. “EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source — power plants.”

    EPA projects that up to 50 gigawatts of coal-fired power will be shutdown as a result of its Clean Power Plan, in addition to the 50 gigawatts slated for shutdown due to past rules and economic factors.

    House Republicans, however, argue the EPA may not even have the legal authority to mandate carbon dioxide emissions limits for existing power plants since these same plants are already subject to a tough mercury rule. The Clean Air Act says plants covered by the mercury rule can’t be subject to carbon limits, say Republicans.

    Lawyers for the coal company Murray Energy also make that argument. Murray Energy is the country’s largest privately-held coal company and has been adamantly opposed to the Clean Power Plan.

    “By the plain terms of the Clean Air Act, as interpreted by the Supreme Court and by EPA itself, this action foreclosed EPA from mandating state-by-state emission standards for these same sources,” Murray Energy attorneys wrote.

    States have also pushed back against the EPA. Most recently, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin came out against the agency’s carbon rule, saying it would be a costly endeavor for the state.

    “The PSCW (Public Service Commission of Wisconsin) preliminarily estimates a cost of compliance with this proposal of $3.3 to $13.4 billion for our state alone,” Walker wrote.

    House Republicans also warned about the high cost of the EPA’s rule in their report. Republicans cite studies showing the costs of the rule could be as high as $366 billion over 15 years.

    The EPA says the costs will be much lower and result in lower utility bills in 2030. But the agency acknowledged the price of electricity will increase until that time before being offset by increased energy efficiency.

    The EPA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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