Tags: EPA | state | emission | power

Did Administration Miss on Emission Rules of EPA?

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:54 AM

Several recent articles have chronicled the ongoing controversy and litigation regarding the implementation of Obamacare. This article returns to a struggle over another controversial policy initiative of this administration — the emission rules being promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the behest of the president and his advisers.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., held a hearing March 11 titled "Examining State Perspectives of the EPA's Proposed Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rule for Existing Power Plants." The witnesses consisted of environmental policy officials from five states, two of which — New York and California — are supportive of the EPA proposal, and three of which — Indiana, Wyoming and Wisconsin — are among 32 states that are opposed.

The basic framework for the discussion is that in order to implement administration policy, the EPA has proposed rules that require each state to adopt a "Clean Power Plan" consisting of four "Building Blocks" as well as a "State Implementation Plan."

Senators differed in their characterization of the attitude the EPA has taken toward the states. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the committee, stated that the EPA "wants to work with the states."

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., a former congresswoman elected to the Senate last year in part on a platform of opposition to these regulations, accused the EPA of acting "like a bull in a china shop" in dealing with states.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a former governor (he said "recovering") who this writer knows to be a moderate Democrat, called on all participants in the debate to "figure out" how to fix anomalies in the proposal the witnesses have identified.

In his opening statement Inhofe warned darkly that the ability to control the use of carbon would carry with it the power to control many aspects of people's lives.

Boxer argued to the contrary that electricity rates have declined in California to an average of $90 per month compared with a national average of $110 and that more than 60 percent of Republicans support regulating greenhouse gasses. She and the regulators from California and New York contended that those states had been able to grow their economies while regulating toxic emissions.

The three regulators from the states opposing the regulations predicted that electricity rates in their states would rise by double digits and jobs would be lost due to the closure of coal-fired power plants. Thomas Easterly, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, predicted further that the regulations would have the perverse effect of actually increasing global emissions, as well as costing jobs, because they would hurt U.S. competitiveness and drive manufacturing from this country to competitors with higher emissions.

Readers and viewers are treated to an assortment of gee-whiz facts about the respective states. Capito stated that 32 of the states are opposed to the regulations. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., pointed out that hers is the only state that depends on public power for its electricity. Carper, whose state is the lowest lying of all, told of a parking lot that used to be 500 yards inland but is now 500 yards out to sea. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., one of the most liberal senators, credited "right-wing think tanks" with the idea of using the market to allocate the burden of reducing emissions, and Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, agreed. He raised the prospect that states with high emissions could be sued by states that are downwind.

(Archived video and the witness list can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
Several recent articles have chronicled the ongoing controversy and litigation regarding the implementation of Obamacare. This article returns to a struggle over another controversial policy initiative of this administration — the emission rules being promulgated by the EPA.
EPA, state, emission, power
593
2015-54-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:54 AM
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