GOP targets EPA Clean Power Plan with flurry of votes, hearings this week
- Republican lawmakers opposed to the Obama administration's signature climate change initiative have scheduled a flurry of hearings and votes on the measure this week, E&E Daily reports. GOP legislators in both houses have proposed measures to allow states to opt out of the requirements.
- The bills would allow states to not submit compliance plans, and would preclude the federal government from implementing a plan for the state if electricity prices rise under the new regulations or reliability or job growth is threatened.
- Several reports have found that states are already on their way to compliance, or found that reliability would not be impacted, but estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration do show electricity bills rising about 4%.
Final Clean Power Plan regulations are due out in August and then the industry appears prepared for a long court fight — potentially placing the rule on uncertain ground for years to come. Companion bills introduced in the House and Senate aim to give states a reprieve from that uncertainty, allowing them to opt out until court cases have concluded.
The House bill, HR 2042, proposed by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), prescribes that: “No State shall be required to adopt or submit a State plan, and no State or entity within a State shall become subject to a Federal plan,” if the CPP leads to rate increases or reliability issues.
"We're simply saying it's so outside the bounds of expectations that we should allow the courts to render a decision before states are put in this position," said Whitfield, who chairs the the Energy and Power Subcommittee, according to E&E Daily, which also reported the bill has 67 co-sponsors.
Whitfield's bill is expected to pass, but a similar measure proposed by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) may have a tougher time in the Senate.
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