On Tuesday, September 9, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule at a hearing titled “State Perspectives: Questions Concerning EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan.” The Clean Power Plan, proposed by the EPA in early June of this year, implements a series of measures aimed to cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent from 2005 levels.
The House subcommittee meeting on the plan proceeded on extremely partisan lines. Republicans sharply criticized the rule. Chairman Whitfield (R-KY) and Representative Barton (R-TX) said it is too sweeping for an issue that is not a top priority. Representatives Shimkus (R-IL) and McKinley (R-WV) said it would decimate the coal industry. On the other hand, Democrats largely praised the rule. Representatives Waxman and Capps said that it is needed to combat the growing force of climate change. Representatives Yarmuth (D-KY) and Castor (D-FL) said it would create jobs. The only Democrat critical of the rule was Representative Green (D-TX), who hails from Houston, an oil industry hub. He said the EPA needs to improve its outreach to the business community and the state’s Public Utility Commission before it implements the rule.
Earlier this summer, the EPA held public hearings on the rule, generating more than 300,000 written comments. The Clean Power Plan is still open for public comment through October 16, 2014, though a bipartisan group of 53 senators sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy last week asking the agency to extend the public comment period on the proposed Clean Power Plan another 60 days.