406 Dirksen EPW Hearing Room

Inhofe Opening Statement on The Impacts of EPA’s Proposed Carbon Regulations on Energy Costs for American Businesses, Rural Communities and Families, and a Legislative Hearing on S. 1324

We are here today to talk about the President’s climate agenda with a particular focus on its impacts to American businesses and families. There is no doubt, and wide reaching consensus that the price of power would increase under the President’s latest regulations, with primary attribution to the so-called Clean Power Plan.

Despite the rhetoric from President Obama and his EPA, his domestic climate agenda has nothing to do with improving the environment or the lives of American citizens. His carbon regulations for new, modified and reconstructed, and existing power plants are nothing more than high-cost, unprecedented power grabs. The Clean Power Plan alone would cost $479 billion, result in double digit electricity prices increases in 43 states and reduce grid reliability. Some regions would not only be dealing with cascading outages and voltage collapse, but paying for long-term investments in power generation that is prematurely shutdown.

Although these policies make-up the core components of President Obama’s climate agenda they would have a negligible impact on the environment – impacts the EPA did not even bother to measure - and would be rendered completely pointless by business as usual in India in China. Further, both of these countries stand to inherit the economic activity and jobs that would be shipped overseas, which has the projected result of actually increasing overall emissions.

When it comes to the climate science this President relies on, I would like to remind everyone that he is using the same science from the same institution that was caught up in the Climategate scandal of 2009. The UK Telegraph described Climategate as “the “worst scientific scandal of our generation” when it was discovered scientists were manipulating temperature data to produce the outcomes they wanted.

When it comes to health benefits, much of what the EPA relies on comes from benefits associated with reductions in particulate matter (PM), not carbon. Further, PM is already regulated under the Clean Air Act and set at a standard the EPA itself identifies as safe.

When it comes to the legality of this proposal, it is on equally questionable ground. The EPA relies on a reimagined interpretation of the Clean Air Act that is counter to the law’s historical application and extends far beyond what Congress ever intended.

It makes sense that 32 states oppose the President’s climate proposals and 16 have already challenged the EPA in Court. While preliminary challenges have hit a minor, technical speed bump, once the rule is final and the Courts get to the merits these legal challenges, the Clean Power Plan will not withstand judicial scrutiny. It does not make sense for States to spend limited resources planning out how to comply with a rule that we know will ultimately be stricken down.

As an original cosponsor to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, I know what good environmental policy looks like. It balances environmental improvements with economic growth. It improves our standard of living while strengthening access to the American dream. It builds on existing partnerships and opens up the doors for new ones. Most importantly, it comes from Congress.

Good environmental policy looks nothing like the Clean Power Plan or any of the climate regulations this administration has proposed. I thank Senator Capito for drafting S. 1324, the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015 to address these problems. Her bill sends the EPA back to the drawing board and provides a host of new requirements that will ensure future proposals actually improve the environment in a balanced and healthy way. Her bill increases transparency, protects the role of States, and provides certainty to the regulated community. Finally, it protects energy consumers – from industrial manufacturers to the kitchen table – from unnecessary costs and unjustified price increases.

I have no doubt this country will continue down the path of an ever improving and healthier environment, but these gains will be achieved through American ingenuity and innovative advancements, not government mandates.

I thank the witnesses for being here today and I look forward to your testimony.

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