U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, today responded to President Obama's climate change action plan, which includes imposing costly regulations on new and existing coal-fired power plants and expanding taxpayer spending for more climate activities across the federal government. The committee will hold hearings to further examine the president's climate change plan and its anticipated economic impacts.
"The president's plan to regulate new and existing power plants is not surprising," stated Whitfield. "In 2008, the president stated that he would bankrupt the coal industry. Over the past four and a half years, his administration has vigorously pursued this goal through cap-and-trade legislation and a swarm of costly new EPA regulations. The president's action plan seeks to limit our nation's fuel choices and make coal-fired electricity generation in this country extinct, despite the fact that coal is our largest source of electricity and one of the nation's most abundant and affordable resources. This is absurd when you consider that man-made carbon only accounts for a very small percentage of all global emissions. We will continue our aggressive oversight over EPA's rules to help prevent destructive consequences on jobs and the economy."
The planned standards relating to power plants announced by the president are in addition to a suite of other EPA power plant rules that are estimated to have already contributed to the announced shutdown of approximately 41,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in 32 states. The new standards are also in addition to over 3,000 pages of new EPA greenhouse gas related rules issued or proposed by the agency since 2009, including over 80 rules addressing greenhouse gas reporting, emissions standards for cars and trucks, and the phasing-in of preconstruction and operating permitting requirements across the economy.
For power plants, the Obama administration announced two settlements in December 2010 that committed the agency to propose and finalize greenhouse gas standards for both new and existing power plants and refineries by 2012. While EPA delayed these efforts and to date has proposed standards only for new power plants, those proposed standards would effectively ban any new coal plant in the United States by requiring installation of carbon capture and storage technologies that are not commercially available and that EPA estimates would increase the cost of coal-fired electricity generation by up to 80 percent.