Examining EPA’s Proposed Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rules From New, Modified, And Existing Power Plants

2015-02-17T17:07:54+00:00 February 17, 2015|
Emissions from coal fired power plant. (Credit:  Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr)

(Click to enlarge) Emissions from coal fired power plant. (Credit: Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr)

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing entitled, “Oversight Hearing: Examining EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions rules from new, modified, and existing power plants.”

Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) grilled the Honorable Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on the effectiveness of the EPA’s carbon dioxide proposal for existing power plants to the very science underpinning the regulation. Bringing up China multiple times in the discussion, Chairman Inhofe highlighted their rapidly increasing emission rate and expressed concern of reduced economic competitiveness associated with these proposals without the benefit of actually reducing emissions on a global scale. McCabe countered this with the U.S.-China agreement on emissions of November 2014 committing China to cease growing their emissions by 2030, and expressing the need for American leadership to avoid “the tragedy of the commons.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) called out Republicans on the Committee for failing to consider the economic cost of climate change in their considerations, specifically for states that are vulnerable to sea-level rise. “I’m keenly aware of what the economic damage will be if we get this wrong in West Virginia, Wyoming and Arkansas and other states, and I’m willing to work with my colleagues to see what we can do to get that right,” Whitehouse said. “But I cannot have a situation in which the other side refuses to acknowledge the reality of what is happening in Rhode Island, what is happening in Maine, what is happening in Oregon, what is happening around the world and around the country because carbon pollution … is cooking our environment.”