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House and Senate Send Letter to OMB on EPA Power Plant Rule

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK), House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee Chairwoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and members of both the House and Senate today sent a letter to Howard Shelanski, Administrator at the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The letter to Administrator Shelanski raises concerns regarding the extraordinary legal and economic aspects of the EPA’s proposed 111(d) rule for fossil fuel-fired power plants.

The committee leaders write, “As proposed, the rule is not tailored to minimize the burdens on state and local governmental entities, or to avoid unreasonable regulatory costs. States and affected entities would be required to make decisions to shut down existing facilities, begin developing new infrastructure, and make potentially expensive and irreversible decisions even if the rule is ultimately struck down or modified.”

Because of the unprecedented costs and regulatory burdens associated with compliance, the members continued, “We write to request that you ensure full interagency review of the proposed rule by all appropriate agencies, including review of the proposal’s consistency with applicable law, impact on electricity rates and reliability, and other implementation issues raised by commenters. We also request that OIRA return the proposed rule to EPA if it would compel compliance, including the submittal of state plans, before legal challenges could be resolved by the courts.” 

The House and Senate leaders concluded, “Regardless of the administration’s current climate policies, federal agencies such as the EPA have an obligation to comply with applicable law and to adhere to core regulatory principles that result in the least burdensome regulatory outcomes and avoid unreasonable costs.” 

The House recently passed H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, a bipartisan bill that addresses the 111(d) rule for existing power plants. H.R. 2042 would allow for completion of judicial review of any final rule before requiring states and affected entities to comply, protecting ratepayers and businesses from higher electricity prices and reliability risks. Senator Capito has introduced similar legislation, the ARENA Act, in the Senate.

To view the letter, click here.