EPW Republicans Send Letter to EPA in Support of Clean Power Plan Repeal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, and every Republican member of the EPW committee, sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in support of the agency’s repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan regulation.

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The letter was also signed by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Richard Shelby (R-AL).

In the letter, the senators emphasize that the regulation would have eliminated American jobs, raised energy prices, and hurt communities across the country. The letter also notes that the regulation is not just poorly conceived policy; it is also overreaching and unlawful.

Read the full letter here and below.

Dear Administrator Pruitt:

We write in support of EPA’s proposal to repeal the so-called “Clean Power Plan” (CPP), published in the Federal Register on October 16, 2017. When President Obama finalized the CPP in 2015, we opposed it because of the pervasive, negative effects it would have had on Americans across the country.  The CPP would have driven up energy prices, eliminated American jobs, and hurt local communities that depend on coal.  As the figures in your proposed repeal demonstrate, the costs of the CPP would have been substantial.  By repealing the rule, EPA eliminates up to $33 billion in costs in the year 2030 alone.

Not only is the CPP bad policy, it is unlawful.  Congress did not give EPA the authority to transform our energy sector.  The CPP would force coal plant closures and artificially shift electricity generation to other sources.  As the Supreme Court has stated, EPA cannot “bring about an enormous and transformative expansion in EPA’s regulatory authority without clear Congressional authorization.”  The Supreme Court “expect[s] Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance.’”

When EPA issued the CPP in 2015, the Agency asserted novel and over-reaching authority to force states into making energy choices that disadvantaged some energy sources over others.  As a result, 27 states challenged the CPP in court.  EPA’s assertion of authority went against the basic tenets of the Clean Air Act, which gives “primary responsibility” to states in implementing the Act.  Then, in 2016, the Supreme Court halted implementation of the CPP while litigation over the rule proceeded.

As you work to repeal the CPP, we support EPA’s willingness to examine broader questions about how the federal government measures the costs and benefits of EPA regulations.  According to a 2016 report by the Office of Management and Budget, approximately 95% of the total costs of EPA regulations are the result of regulations developed by EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation (OAR).  The prior administration employed accounting policies that generated outsized benefits and minimized costs to justify costly OAR rules, such as the CPP.  As you have done in this proposal to repeal the CPP, EPA should continue to examine and correct those issues so that future policies are grounded on sound cost-benefit analyses.

We stand ready to assist you as you restore EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act to its intended purpose:  “to protect and enhance the quality of the Nation’s air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of the population.”

Sincerely,

John Barrasso, M.D.

Shelley Moore Capito

James M. Inhofe

John Boozman

Roger Wicker

Deb Fischer

Jerry Moran

Michael Rounds

Joni K. Ernst

Dan Sullivan

Richard C. Shelby

Background Information:

On October 10, 2017, the EPA published a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan rule.

On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order promoting energy independence and economic growth. This executive order rescinded a number of the Obama administration’s climate-related initiatives. It also directed the EPA and the Department of the Interior to review and – if appropriate – suspend, revise, or rescind regulations affecting the oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and electric-generation sectors of our economy. Barrasso attended the signing ceremony for the order.

The EPA has held a listening session on the repeal of the Clean Power Plan in West Virginia. The agency will also hold listening sessions in Gillette, WY, Kansas City, MO, and San Francisco, CA.

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