Friday, September 12, 2014

10 Dems Join Senate GOP in Calling for Delay of New Carbon Regs Because, "Hey, No Urgency"

Yesterday, a group of 53 senators--43 Republicans and 10 Democrats--wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling on her to extend the deadline for public comment on the proposal released in June to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The EPA allowed for a 120 day comment period, twice as long as the normal 60 day period for regulations. However, these senators want it extended even more--another 60 days--in order to further delay implementation. I mean, it's not like there's any urgency around climate or anything.

The lead senators on the letter were Republican Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

Nine other Democrats joined Heitkamp: Mark Begich (D-AK), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
We are writing to request that the Environmental Protection Agency provide a 60 day extension of the comment period for the “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units.” While we appreciate EPA granting an initial 120 day comment period, the complexity and magnitude of the proposed rule necessitates an extension. This extension is critical to ensure that state regulatory agencies and other stakeholders have adequate time to fully analyze and comment on the proposal. It is also important to note that the challenge is not only one of commenting on the complexity and sweeping scope of the rule, but also providing an opportunity to digest more than 600 supporting documents released by EPA in support of this proposal.
The proposed rule regulates or affects the generation, transmission, and use of electricity in every corner of this country. States and stakeholders must have time to fully analyze and assess the sweeping impacts the proposal will have on our nation’s energy system, including dispatch of generation and end-use energy efficiency. In light of the broad energy impacts of the proposed rule, state environmental agencies must coordinate their comments across multiple state agencies and stakeholders, including public utility commissions, regional transmission organizations, and transmission and reliability experts, just to name a few. The proposed rule requires a thorough evaluation of intra- and inter-state, regional, and in some cases international energy generation and transmission so that states and utilities can provide the most detailed assessments on how to meet the targets while maintaining reliability in the grid. This level of coordination to comment on an EPA rule is unprecedented, extraordinary, and extremely time consuming.
It is also important to note that the proposed rule imposes a heavy burden on the states during the rulemaking process. If the states want to adjust their statewide emission rate target assigned to them by the EPA, they must provide their supporting documentation for the adjustment during the comment period. The EPA proposal provides no mechanism for adjusting the state emission targets once they are adopted based on the four building blocks. So the states need enough time to digest the rule, fully understand it, and then collect the data and justification on why their specific target may need to be adjusted, and why the assumptions of the building blocks may not apply to their states. This cannot adequately be accomplished in only 120 days.

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