Senate GOP, Democratic leaders split on Obama greenhouse plan

(Below are two separate Sept. 20 press releases from the majority and minority leaders on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee)

Washington, D.C. – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the statement below on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement today regarding new proposed carbon pollution standards for future power plants:

Senator Boxer said: “Every day across the nation we see the harmful impacts of climate change, and we must reduce carbon pollution to protect public health and safeguard future generations. EPA’s proposed standard for new power plants is a critical and appropriate step forward in addressing the biggest source of carbon pollution.”

Top Republican begs to differ

Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) release of a White House-approved proposed rule that limits greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants and requires adoption of a cost-prohibitive carbon control technology that is unavailable at a commercial scale.

“Today’s proposal maintains EPA’s pie in the sky standard-setting mentality despite the Agency’s admission that unilateral regulations would have no impact on global emissions levels,” said Vitter. “EPA completely ignores other nations’ missteps, and the severe negative impacts from trying to address carbon emissions. Their actions have resulted in economic uncertainty, job loss, and increased electricity prices, yet the Agency continues to barrel on – full speed ahead.

Earlier this week EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated before Congress that “climate change requires a global effort.” However, in countries like GermanySpain,the UK, and Australia that have sought to limit carbon emissions, the negative economic impacts and failure to reach target goals have outweighed any minuscule “climate-related” benefits.

Today’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) proposal, by requiring new coal fired power plants to install carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in order to meet GHG emissions reductions, effectively prohibits new coal fired plants from being built. CCS technology has yet to be demonstrated on a commercial scale and faces a number of additional barriers. In 2010, GAO found that commercial deployment of CCS was possible in 10 to 15 years contingent upon overcoming economic, technical, and legal challenges that have yet to be met.