U.S. Chamber’s Harbert Tells EPA to Limit Economic Damage of Power Plant Rules
WASHINGTON, D.C.—While reiterating the U.S. Chamber’s contention that the Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, Energy Institute President and CEO Karen Harbert today called on EPA to ensure that any new rules are cost-effective, attainable, and don’t harm the American economy.
In June, President Obama directed EPA to begin writing new greenhouse gas regulations on existing power plants. In her testimony at the EPA’s Washington, DC “listening session” on the proposed regulations, Harbert outlined the business community’s continued concerns both with the forthcoming rules themselves and the process through which EPA is soliciting input.
“If EPA continues to insist on stretching its Clean Air Act authority, then the agency should work to ensure that this regulation is reasonable and technologically achievable on a commercial scale,” Harbert said. “It is also vitally important that EPA aim to preserve the affordability of electricity, maintain the reliability of the electric grid, and allow for coal to sustain its vital role in the nation’s diverse energy portfolio.”
As the Energy Institute and thirteen state Chambers pointed out in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy last week, EPA has chosen to ignore each one of the ten states that rely the most on coal for electricity during its “listening session” process, an apparent violation of the agency’s Public Involvement Policy. While the potential harm from EPA regulations threaten the entire economy, states most reliant on coal for electricity tend to have lower electricity prices and thus stand to lose the most if new regulations are implemented.
“EPA must ensure that the potentially unprecedented reach and impact of this rulemaking is accompanied by a robust, inclusive regulatory development process that is commensurate with the magnitude of the rules and is not subject to political considerations or timelines,” Harbert said.
Harbert’s testimony also focused on the need for the EPA process to follow President Obama’s Executive Order 13563, which established rules for agencies that require any regulation be adopted “only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs” and that agencies “tailor regulations to impose the least burden on society.”
“Due to the potentially devastating impacts of greenhouse gas regulations on power plants and electricity consumers, it is critical that EPA’s rulemaking process pay more than lip service to cost and benefits,” Harbert said. “This begins with a thorough and objective analysis of the costs and benefits of reducing GHGs under any rule, taking into account the fact that global emissions will continue to grow rapidly no matter what America does.”
A full copy of Harbert’s testimony is available here.
The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.