(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today submitted comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed existing source performance standard (ESPS) rule to limit carbon dioxide from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units.  The public comment period ends December 1, 2014.

“EPA’s proposed carbon rule goes beyond the intent of the Clean Air Act and bullies States into implementing expensive programs with questionable benefits, whether they like it or not.  The rule would result in higher electricity bills for families, schools, hospitals, and businesses across the United States, and at the end of the day the people who will be hurt most are low-income families and the elderly” said Vitter.

Vitter continued, “EPA’s proposal makes a number of assumptions, misdirects, and glosses over its heavy-handed attempt to hijack the entire electricity system, all in the name of flexibility. In reality, EPA usurps the role of State governments, public utility commissions, and other federal agencies that do have the authority over and expertise in electricity generation issues.  Before EPA takes another step forward with this highly controversial rule, they should first listen to the concerns of the American people and analyze its devastating economic effects.”

The proposed ESPS goes beyond the clear reading of the Clean Air Act Section 111(d) and is the largest unilateral expansion of EPA authority to date.  As proposed, the ESPS rule would force States to implement renewable portfolio standards or a cap-and-trade system to replace fossil-fuel energy to achieve questionable emission reduction targets from a limited menu of economically-damaging and legally questionable “options,” whether it’s a feasible option for the state or not.  Additionally, the outcome of this regulation may be used to develop future EPA regulations and sue-and-settle agreements for EPA to regulate other sectors of the economy.

Vitter has been critical of EPA’s approach to ESPS.  Click here to read more. Vitter recently released emails between top EPA officials and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which demonstrate the very close working relationship between the two organizations to develop the Agency's recently proposed carbon rule for existing power plants. Click here to read more. Earlier this year, Vitter led 41 Republican Senators in requesting the President withdraw the proposed rule. Click here to read more.

The following documents were submitted as comments.

•    Letter from 41 Senators Urging President Obama to Withdraw Cap-and-Trade Rule

•    EPW Committee report on Cooperative Federalism, entitled, "Neglecting a Cornerstone Principle of the Clean Air Act: President Obama's EPA Leaves States Behind”

•    EPW Committee report entitled, "Critical Thinking on Climate Change: Empirical Evidence to Consider Before Taking Regulatory Action and Implementing Economic Policies.”

•    Witness Testimony of Dr. Judith Curry, 1.16.14, Full Committee Hearing to Review the President’s Climate Action Plan

•    Witness Testimony of Bjorn Lomborg, 7.29.14, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Hearing Examining the Threats Posed by Climate Change

•    Opening Statement of U.S. Sen. David Vitter, 7.23.14, Full Committee Hearing conducting oversight on EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants