Inhofe slams EPA’s Clean Power Plan at Senate hearing

February 11, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered the following opening statement today at the “Oversight Hearing Examining EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions rules from new, modified, and existing power plant.” Witnesses included The Honorable Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As Prepared for Delivery:

“Acting Administrator McCabe, thank you for taking the time to be here today. By mid-summer, your office plans to finalize three separate rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power plants. According to your own testimony before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee on June 19, 2014, these rules do nothing to save us from global warming.  No one should be surprised; we’ve been here before.

  • NASA’s Dr. James Hansen – the father of global warming theory – said himself that the Kyoto Protocol will have little effect on global temperature in the 21st century and that it will take 30 Kyotos to reduce warming.
  • Lisa Jackson honestly testified that U.S. action would not impact world CO2 levels, even after Secretary Chu had contradicted her at a July 7, 2009, EPW hearing.
  • According to two recent analyses of the President’s Clean Power Plan, it’s been demonstrated that the initiative will only reduce the earth’s temperature by 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2100. Another study demonstrates that CO2 concentrations will be reduced by less than 0.5%, global temperature rise will be reduced by 0.016 degree F, and sea level rise will be reduced by a 0.3 millimeter – or the thickness of three sheets of paper.

Similarly, your office plans to complete a Small Business Advocacy Review, issue a model Federal Implementation Plan, and evaluate literally over 5 million public comments to your proposed rules by mid-summer.

The agency has already missed its first statutorily required deadline to finalize its new source proposal by January 8, 2015. I’m interested to learn how the EPA expects states to comply with an expedited timeline the agency itself couldn’t even meet.

It should not be surprising that 31 States now oppose your Clean Power Plan. Today is EPA’s day to testify, but we will invite these states to have their day before this Committee to explain their problems.

In the meantime, I have a number of problems with these proposals. I am concerned that your agency intends to impose the most expensive regulation in history yet fail to achieve your goals. According to the economic consulting and analysis firm, NERA, the Clean Power Plan alone would cost as much as $73 billion per year and upwards of $469 billion over the next 15 years. It’s difficult to know what the new source performance standards would cost, however, because no one will build a new coal plant. We’ll have to take the President at his word from his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January of 2008 when he said, ‘So if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.’ Under the Clean Power Plan, at least 43 states will face double digit electricity price increases. The President is delivering on his campaign promise that under his Administration ‘electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket.’

Additional impacts of the existing source rule include interruptions to the reliability of our nation’s electrical grid. The Southwest Power Pool, which includes Oklahoma, reports the rule would result in ‘cascading outages’ and ‘voltage collapse.’ The Clean Power Plan would also force the early retirement of coal-fired plants where operators have already made significant investments to install emissions control equipment in order to comply with other EPA regulations. Finally, this rule is an unprecedented attempt by the EPA to greatly expand its section 111 authority. This results in a Federal takeover of how we plan, develop, and consume energy in this country.

Democrats may want to criticize him for submitting comments on behalf of Peabody Energy, but even Lawrence Tribe wrote in comments and in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, that he ‘concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority.’

The Byrd/Hagel vote in 1997 was 95-0, 2003 McCain-Lieberman, 2005 McCain-Lieberman, and 2008 Warner-Lieberman all failed. Waxman-Markey was simply DOA in the Senate in 2009. I’m eager to hear why EPA is steamrolling ahead and requesting billions of dollars on these proposals. Not only do states reject them, but they ignore the will of Congress, rely on unreasonable assumptions, cost billions, increase our energy bills, and do nothing to impact global warming.”