The Environment and Energy Subcommittees today held a joint hearing to examine the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) recent analysis of the impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan. The report was requested by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in August 2014 and released last month. Witnesses today testified on the EIA's findings, confirming the rule will have high costs and damaging economic impacts. Witnesses said the rule could cost as much as $1.5 trillion, increase electricity prices across the country, and force coal-fired power plants to shut down.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): "The president's Power Plan is nothing more than a "Power Grab' to give the government more control over Americans' daily lives. These regulations stifle economic growth, destroy American jobs, and increase energy prices. That means everything will cost more -- from electricity to gasoline to food. The EPA should not saddle the American people with extensive and burdensome regulations, especially if the regulations have little environmental impact."
The Clean Power Plan would require states to meet requirements for carbon emissions from electricity generating units. The EIA found that the rule would have a significant impact in retiring a large number of coal-fired power plants and that electricity prices would significantly increase by up to 7% annually, with certain regions seeing increases even greater than the average projections.
Environment Subcommittee Chairman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.): "This is a continuation of this administration's "war on the poor.' I will once again remind my colleagues that while we might be able to absorb electricity rate increases, many of our constituents do not have that ability. This is especially true in my home state of Oklahoma, which relies heavily on coal for electricity generation and as a result enjoys electricity prices which are far below the national average. Coal -- and to an extent natural gas -- are the sources of fuel this rule will phase out, and is the true intention of this administration's agenda."
Today the House will vote on H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015, which would prevent states from having to implement a state plan, or be subject to the federal Clean Power Plan if the Governor determines that such a plan would negatively affect ratepayers through increased electricity prices.
Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas): "A family of four could see thousands of dollars in increased costs per year as the Clean Power Plan is implemented, with costs peaking in 2025 when the average family will see an increase in cost of over $1700 per year. The Obama Administration admits that these regulations will not stop climate change. Data produced by the EPA show that the Clean Power Plan would eliminate less than one percent of global carbon emissions. But what the EIA's report confirms is that eliminating affordable, reliable power will increase the energy prices for the American people. Driving the American economy over a cliff is not going to kick start innovation in energy technology."