CEI leads coalition urging Congress to stop EPA’s power plant rule

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The Competitive Enterprise Institute today led a coalition letter to Congress in support of an effort to undo the EPA’s power plant rule, which was published this month and set to go into effect in July. The letter, signed by over 40 free-market-oriented and conservative organizations, argues that the rule will undermine energy affordability and reliability and that the EPA lacks authority from Congress to impose such a rule.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) are expected to introduce Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval to overturn the EPA rule.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized power plant rule will kill America’s existing supply of baseload generation from coal,” the letter explains. “At the same time, the rule will deter investment in new baseload generation from natural gas. That means the rule will drive up consumer energy costs, impair grid reliability, and chill economic growth. The rule is also an unlawful power grab that defies the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA.”

The rule requires coal power plants that intend to operate after 2039 to install by January 1, 2032 equipment capable of capturing 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, despite the fact that the technology so far has proven limited in scope, dependent on tax subsidies, and plagued with technical difficulties.

In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court made it clear that the Clean Air Act “does not authorize the EPA to act as the nation’s grid manager or resolve the national debate on climate policy with respect to a fundamental industrial sector,” the letter states. “If Congress wanted the agency to possess such authority, it would have said so in clear terms. Congress has not done so, yet the EPA is still trying to assert an expansive transformation of its regulatory power.”

The House and Senate will likely take up the resolutions of disapproval this summer.