Friday, December 15, 2017

Congressmen pen letter to EPA administration questioning agency’s defiance of Clean Power Plan stay

Several Republican members of Congress have taken issue with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to continue to provide states with assistance relating to the agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to stay the plan earlier this year.

U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power; Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and Tim Murphy (R-OH), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy earlier this month, questioning why the EPA is continuing to move forward with provisions related to CPP after previously indicating months earlier that due to the stay, the agency would discontinue its implementation of the rule.

“We now see that, in addition to expending resources to provide ‘assistance’ to individual states, EPA has been expending resources on several regulatory processes that are integrally related to the suspended rule and that would compel states and regulated entities in turn to expend resources to respond to these proceedings — or otherwise forgo legal rights – and, indirectly, participate in implementation of the stayed rule,” the congressmen wrote.

The lawmakers went on to state that EPA staff had advised them that the agency had sent out a proposal with details on the optional Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), which would reward states for early investments in wind and solar energy and energy efficiency projects by making “Emissions Reductions Credits” available to them.

“This new rulemaking proposal arises directly form the Clean Power Plan and, but for this rule, the new proposal would have no basis,” the letter stated. “Thus, it is of significant concern that this new rulemaking is proceeding when the underlying rule is categorically stayed.”

The legislators also expressed their concern over EPA’s confirmed continuance of the proposed “Model Trading Rules” and other regulations related to CPP.

Packaged as a solution to global warming caused by high carbon emissions, EPA has pushed for CPP.  The agency estimates that by 2030, standards set in place by CPP will have reduced carbon dioxide emission levels by 32 percent from what they were in 2005.

The plan promises to protect the health of American families, boost the economy and save American families money on high energy bills, and will give each state a specific emissions goal and leave it up to each state to determine how it will reach that goal.

In February, after critics argued that the CPP was a classic case of federal overreach, the U.S. Supreme Court halted EPA’s plan and ruled that states should not be forced to pay the high costs imposed by the plan. The Supreme Court relegated the matter to a lower court to determine the legality of the CPP. A decision from the D.C. Circuit is not expected until later this year.

The Supreme Court ruling marked a victory for the 27 states suing to stop the massive plan that imposed strict regulations on local governments.

The legislators signed off by asking EPA to provide answers regarding the agency’s intentions.

“In light of these concerns, we request additional information to assist the committee in understanding the agency’s actions and the potential impacts of its actions,” they wrote.