Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter last night to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concern that EPA has failed to assess how the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Utility MACT) rule could affect electric reliability. According to EPA, the final Utility MACT rule will be announced in November 2011.
EPA reported this year that the Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were jointly modeling the potential for coal-fired power plant closures prompted by Utility MACT, but as FERC's response to a May 17 letter from Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee, revealed, nothing as extensive as joint modeling has occurred.
Senator Inhofe's letter requests that Administrator Jackson explain this discrepancy and clarify the extent to which EPA has worked with a number of agencies on the issue of electric reliability.
"Today in Congress there is bipartisan concern that the Obama EPA's Utility MACT rule will result in a significant number of plant closures, increase electricity rates for every American, and, along with the transport rule, destroy nearly 1.4 million jobs," Senator Inhofe said. "Now we have learned that EPA has failed to collaborate with FERC to consider how Utility MACT will affect electric reliability. In fact, FERC Commissioner Moeller went as far as to say that ‘the Commission has not acted or studied or provided assistance to any agency, including EPA.'
"The Obama-EPA cannot afford to get this wrong: Utility MACT could force the closure of hundreds of coal plants across the country, which could put a significant strain on our electric grid - and, with a price tag of $11 billion, it is projected to be one of the most expensive rules in the Agency's history.
"EPA is pursuing its war on affordable energy without regard to the nation's economy or energy needs. EPA should halt this process and finally engage in a comprehensive regulatory analysis of Utility MACT and all its pending train wreck rules."