The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently closed the comment period for its proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing electric power plants. The Institute for Energy Research submitted a comment for the public record highlighting the many ways the rule is problematic, including critical legal issues as well as negative polling from Americans. The comment also shows how EPA’s proposed rule is a threat to the power grid, raises the cost of energy, and offers no tangible benefits in terms of global temperatures. Key findings include:
- EPA violates the language of the Clean Air Act (CAA) with this rule. By going “outside the fence” to regulate the power grid (both supply and demand), EPA is overstepping its authority in Section 111(d) of the CAA.
- The rule also violates the principle of cooperative federalism because it takes regulatory authority away from states and claims it for EPA.
- The carbon dioxide emissions limits in the proposed rule are arbitrary and capricious because even though this is a rule about climate change, EPA failed to examine the impact of the rule on climate. Therefore, EPA did not explain if there is a difference between a 1 percent reduction, a 30 percent reduction, or a 100 percent reduction–EPA’s choice was completely arbitrary.
- Americans oppose the rule. After being shown the likely effects of the rule, the majority of Americans oppose it.
- The rule threatens power grid reliability. The authorities charged with overseeing the electric grid raise grave concerns about the future of the electric reliability under EPA control.
- The economic costs of the rule far outweigh the benefits. It is very expensive to close the most abundant and lowest-cost electricity generation units (coal plants) and attempt to replace them with intermittent, unreliable sources such as wind, solar, or “energy efficiency.” As a result, energy bills will spike an estimated $284 billion by 2020 and 224,000 jobs will be lost per year, all for averting a mere 0.018 degrees Celsius increase in global temperature by 2100.