• Testimony of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the Public Hearing on the EPA's National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units

February 24, 2022

My name is Heath Knakmuhs, and I am Vice President and Policy Counsel for the Global Energy Institute, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”). The mission of the Global Energy Institute is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a commonsense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. The Chamber appreciates the opportunity to testify today primarily in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) revocation of the 2020 reconsideration and its affirmation of the appropriate and necessary supplemental finding of its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”), applicable to coal- and oil-fired electric utility generating units.

The saga of the EPA’s regulation of utility mercury emissions is long and winding, with EPA having first made the initial appropriate and necessary finding in 2000 and finalizing the first iteration of a utility mercury rulemaking in 2005, which was a cap-ntrade program. In 2019, I testified before the EPA that the follow-on 2011 MATS rule then stood as a poster child for the merits of a court-ordered “stay” when a significant regulatory rulemaking requires multi-billion-dollar investment and closure decisions from a regulated industry. Despite litigation challenging the very basis for the MATS rule, the rule was allowed to proceed apace during a lengthy, three-and-a-half year judicial review, which eventually resulted in the Supreme Court’s finding that the rule was unlawful in Michigan v. EPA.1 The Court’s decision was issued more than two months after the April 16, 2015 deadline for utility compliance with that challenged MATS rule.2 Thus, while the Court determined that the EPA had acted unreasonably when it determined that it did not need to consider the costs of regulation when finding that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate, this decision was too late to make a practical difference for the hundreds of generating units already impacted by the rule.