Committee to EPA: Scrap Partisan Power Plant Proposal

May 8, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today submitted over 1,300 pages of comments to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the agency’s proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for emissions from power plants. The EPA’s strict new climate mandate relies on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Yet evidence obtained by the Committee from leading technical, scientific and policy experts show that CCS is not ready and that the EPA circumvented the law in fast-tracking the proposal before the agency’s own science advisors had a chance to fully review it.

“EPA is recklessly rushing ahead,” Chairman Smith wrote in the letter. “In this proposal, the EPA disregarded the law requiring independent scientific review; silenced its scientific advisors; denied review of carbon storage science; and adopted an energy policy that ignores technical and practical realities. The NSPS fundamentally obscures the state of technology and rejects sound energy policy. In so doing, the EPA displays a striking disregard for the law and scientific integrity, while jeopardizing our nation’s future.”

Under the proposal, EPA concluded that CCS has been adequately demonstrated as a technology for controlling carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The Science, Space, and Technology Committee conducted hearings and obtained testimony from leading experts examining the EPA’s process and criticizing the agency’s use of science. Further, the Committee observed interactions between the EPA and the independent Science Advisory Board (SAB) charged with advising both the EPA and Congress.

“Science Committee efforts uncovered serious problems and unanswered questions with the scientific and technical assumptions supporting EPA’s new power plant proposal,” the letter states. “The NSPS must have a sound technical and scientific basis. As the agency has stated on many occasions, ‘science is, and continues to be the backbone of this agency and the integrity of our science is central to the identity and credibility of our work.’ This Committee intends to hold EPA to that standard.”

The cover letter concludes: “The NSPS proposal is premature, arbitrary, and inadequately supported by the record. For the reasons provided in these comments, EPA must withdraw the proposed rule.”

The full copy of the comments can be found here.