Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield recently unveiled a discussion draft of the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015, which would empower states to protect households and businesses from EPA's proposed rule regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
State governors, federal and state regulators, and electric reliability authorities have raised broad concerns about the impacts of this rule on electricity rates, reliability and state and local economies. In addition, EPA’s proposal faces many legal challenges and could ultimately be struck down by the courts. Regardless of this uncertainty, EPA seeks to compel states to move forward with compliance and submit costly implementation plans, or become subject to a federal plan, before the litigation is resolved. Rep. Whitfield’s draft legislation would allow for judicial review of any final rule before requiring states to comply or ratepayers to incur new costs. The draft would also provide a safe harbor if the governor of a state determines that implementation of a state or federal plan under any final rule would have significant adverse effects on the state’s ratepayers or the reliability of its electricity system.
“EPA’s proposed rule is riddled with problems and faces an uphill battle in the courts. Just last week we heard powerful testimony on the legal and implementation challenges, and it is clear this unprecedented power grab cannot stand,” said Whitfield. “My commonsense legislation will protect states and their citizens from EPA’s damaging overreach, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in advancing it.”
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