Waxman Rails Against Bill to Block Power-Plant Regs

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Jan. 14, 2014, 7:56 a.m.

House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Henry Wax­man, D-Cal­if., slammed lower-cham­ber con­ser­vat­ives on Tues­day for sup­port­ing a bill de­signed to lim­it En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency reg­u­la­tions for new and ex­ist­ing power plants.

Wax­man called the le­gis­la­tion, in­tro­duced in the House and Sen­ate this month by Rep. Ed Whit­field, R-Ky., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., “a re­cipe for dis­aster.”

“The bill be­fore us would upend the Clean Air Act,” Wax­man said dur­ing a markup of the le­gis­la­tion by the En­ergy and Power Sub­com­mit­tee. “Re­pub­lic­ans are start­ing 2014 right where they left off in 2013. They’re deny­ing the sci­ence of cli­mate change, ig­nor­ing the risks, and try­ing to stop the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency from pro­tect­ing the Amer­ic­an people from air pol­lu­tion.”

The bill would block EPA’s pro­posed new source per­form­ance stand­ards for fu­ture power plants. It would also elim­in­ate the reg­u­la­tion’s re­quire­ment that new plants in­stall car­bon-cap­ture-and-stor­age tech­no­logy and give Con­gress the power to de­term­ine a start date for forth­com­ing EPA reg­u­la­tions for ex­ist­ing plants.

Wax­man was the only mem­ber of the pan­el to pro­pose an amend­ment to the bill. The amend­ment stated that lim­its on EPA’s au­thor­ity should not be per­mit­ted to take ef­fect un­til an al­tern­at­ive stand­ard yield­ing the same over­all re­duc­tion in car­bon emis­sions was pro­posed. It failed to pass, however.

Re­pub­lic­ans on the pan­el de­fen­ded the le­gis­la­tion, say­ing that EPA’s stand­ard for fu­ture plants has not yet been com­mer­cially demon­strated and there­fore is not achiev­able.

“When EPA’s pro­pos­al be­comes fi­nal­ized it will be im­possible to build a new coal-fired power plant in this coun­try be­cause the tech­no­logy is not avail­able,” Whit­field, who chairs the sub­com­mit­tee, said in his open­ing state­ment.

The pan­el ad­vanced the bill to the full com­mit­tee on an 18-11 vote.

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