The Clean Power Plan (CPP) is an enormously costly, agenda-driven regulation devoid of any congressional authorization or meaningful environmental benefit and must be repealed, the National Mining Association (NMA) said in comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The trade group representing U.S. coal, and mineral producers and mining equipment manufacturers urged the EPA to use its authority to repeal the prior administration’s regulation that was opposed by more than half the states, a wide variety of industries and organizations, and was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The only thing ‘clean’ about the CPP is its break from the longstanding plain meaning and application of the law,” said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn. “Ignoring the Clean Air Act’s clear stipulation that standards for regulating air quality apply only to individual sources, the EPA instead engaged in verbal gymnastics to transform each state’s electricity grid into a single source,” said Quinn. “Nothing in the law empowers the EPA to embark on what it termed an ‘aggressive transformation in the domestic energy industry’ and create ‘a new energy economy.’”
Implementing this rule would further damage the nation’s power grid and the economy it supports, Quinn said. “The forced premature retirement of many existing coal plants that altogether generate 30% of the nation’s electricity would accelerate the loss of reliable electricity supply,” said Quinn. Government reports recently documented that coal-based power was the most resilient and leading electricity supplier in many markets during the recent “bomb cyclone” weather event, he added.
Economists and energy experts also documented the CPP’s attendant impact on high-wage employment throughout the nationwide supply chain, as well as the multibillion-dollar increase in retail electricity costs, new transmission requirements and demand reduction it would impose on households and businesses. “This explains why ‘Costly Power Plan’ is a far more descriptive title for the CPP and its stunning attempt to re-engineer the nation’s entire electricity supply,” said Quinn.
“Seldom if ever has a federal regulation managed to combine so much cost with so little benefit,” said Quinn. A former EPA administrator conceded in congressional testimony that the CPP would have largely symbolic value after her agency’s own model found it would theoretically reduce global temperatures at best by only 0.02°C by 2100, the NMA said.
In October, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to repeal the CPP. The EPA held listening sessions and accepted comments on the proposed repeal until April 26.