Washington, D.C. — Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) delivered opening remarks at today’s Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing on why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should abandon their latest proposal on power plants, which could jeopardize reliable baseload power, make our energy crisis worse, and add new costly burdens to important energy sources like natural gas. In addition, Cathy helped lead a letter sent today to EPA Administrator Regan demanding the agency extend its comment period for its strict, costly proposed greenhouse gas and power plant rules.
Excerpts and highlights below from her remarks below:
CELEBRATE AMERICAN ENERGY, DON’T SHUT IT DOWN
“Energy is foundational to everything we do and America’s ability to harness it, through innovation and entrepreneurship, has completely transformed the human condition.
“Energy powers our economy and it’s why America is leading in lifting people out of poverty and raising the standard of living.
“We’ve achieved this while being a leader in emissions reductions and maintaining some of the highest environmental and labor standards in the world.
“In order to build on this remarkable legacy, we must continue to innovate and take advantage of our abundant natural resources for a diverse energy mix.
“Today, however, more and more people in America are being forced to face threats of blackouts and brownouts.
“This is happening across the country.
“In California, ‘rush-to-green’ policies are driving out baseload and dispatchable generation in exchange for less reliable, weather dependent substitutes.
“This crisis is playing out in Texas too, where overreliance on weather-dependent sources has limited its capacity to endure severe regional weather.
“Last year, the North American Reliability Corporation—NERC—warned that more than half the nation was at an elevated risk of forced blackouts during the summer.
“This year, NERC is projecting that number will be roughly two-thirds of the nation.”
THE EPA’S ABUSE OF POWER
“The reliability of our electric grid is essential to America’s health and safety.
“Rushing to dismantle our nation’s electricity generation is not how we improve people’s lives and well-being.
“Yet the EPA has sought to use the Clean Air Act to restructure the American power sector by shutting down coal-fired power plants and shifting electricity generation to weather-dependent sources.
“These efforts to transform the nation’s electricity system would have damaging and lasting effects on reliability for Americans across the country and would go well beyond the EPA’s congressionally mandated authority.
“The Supreme Court ruled just that, in West Virginia v. EPA, when it found that EPA’s efforts to circumvent Congress and restructure the U.S. power sector through the Clean Air Act were unconstitutional.
“Given the Court’s ruling, the EPA must be completely transparent with the public about how its sweeping new rules could jeopardize the reliability of our electric grid and shut down our economy.
“This morning, the Committee sent a letter to EPA Administrator Regan demanding the agency extend its comment period for the proposed greenhouse gas and power plant rules.
“The EPA is seeking to set strict, costly, and untested standards on both new and existing natural gas generators and remaining coal generators and the Agency is doing it on extremely fast compliance timelines.
“This is unacceptable.”
THE EPA’S PLAN JEOPARDIZES ENERGY RELIABILITY & AFFORDABILITY
“This complex proposal would affect the entire U.S. coal generating fleet, all future natural gas power plants, as well as existing plants producing more than 300 megawatts of power.
“These changes will have a chilling effect on American natural gas, which is critical for generating electricity across the country.
“It will make life more expensive across the board.
“It is clear these profound changes sought by the EPA pose risks to the structure of our entire electric generation and energy mix.
“The comment period on the proposal should be extended to enable stakeholders time to evaluate and respond fully.
“In order to ensure the American people have access to affordable, reliable energy to keep them safe, fed, and warm, it’s vital that we, the Committee of jurisdiction, understand and take actions to address the EPA’s proposals and what they mean for the nation’s electricity systems as well as America’s energy leadership.
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