WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, sent a letter Monday to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the EPA to withdraw its Clean Power Plan rule from consideration. In the letter, Inhofe highlights that the Clean Power Plan rule, a key component of the President’s Climate Action Plan, is in clear conflict of the Clean Air Act and would impose a mandate on states that has been expressly prohibited by Congress.
Inhofe wrote, “The clear language of the Clean Air Act (the Act) unambiguously prohibits the promulgation of this proposed rule. When Congress gave EPA the authority to require state-by-state pollution controls on existing sources under section 111(d) of the Act, it was extremely sensitive to the possibility of subjecting sources to double-regulation by both the states and the federal government. As such, Congress expressly prohibited EPA from requiring state-by-state regulations of categories of sources where it had already established a national standard. The Act states that EPA may not mandate standards from ‘a source category which is regulated under section 112’ of the Act.”
Inhofe goes on to argue that the rule should be withdrawn also on the basis of it being an unauthorized expansion of EPA’s authority. If EPA moves forward with the rule, it would be in direct contradiction to the recent Supreme Court decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. EPA which struck EPA’s Tailoring Rule because it ushered in an “enormous and transformative expansion in EPA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.”
The Clean Power Plan would also place unnecessary burden on the U.S. electric grid, which could have a severe, negative impact on U.S. economic competitiveness. In the letter, Inhofe highlighted how Oklahomans would be directly affected as part by the rule and would likely see power prices spike. As part of the Southwest Power Pool, Oklahomans could also face rolling blackouts by as early as 2020.
“The rule will also have a dramatic impact on the nation’s electricity reliability, adding to its political and economic significance. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation issued a report warning of the major adverse effects the rule could have on grid reliability, highlighting that EPA’s estimate that as many as 134 gigawatts, or about 10 percent of our nation’s total electric generating capacity, could be forced to retire by 2020. This may be too aggressive for power providers to effectively meet without sacrificing reliability. Further, the Southwest Power Pool, to which Oklahoma is a party, determined that this rule could result in rolling blackouts and leave the region far below needed reserve margins by 2020. By 2024, the rule could reduce generating capacity so much that the region may not have the power needed to meet demand, reserve margins aside,” Inhofe said.
The public comment period on the Clean Power Plant rule ended on Monday.
To read the full letter, please click here.