Washington, D.C. – Members of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today questioned the president’s science advisor, Dr. John Holdren, and the top EPA air official, Janet McCabe, on the costs and impacts of the administration’s Climate Action Plan and proposed EPA power plant regulations.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Today we look at one of the most aggressive new government programs in our country’s history. The cornerstone of the White House sweeping Climate Action Plan is EPA’s power plant regulation. Extending well beyond the power plants themselves, this rule will increase the cost of electricity and the cost of doing business. In fact, EPA’s own data show us that its power plant regulation would eliminate less than one percent of global carbon emissions. Analysis shows this would reduce sea level rise by the thickness of a mere three sheets of paper. EPA’s mandates will be difficult for states to meet even under ideal circumstances. If energy prices or energy demand escalate, the costs of meeting those mandates will soar and American families will be forced to pay the bill.”
In response to questions about the impact of EPA’s proposed power plant regulations, both Dr. Holdren and Ms. McCabe conceded that they will have a very small impact on global climate change. Dr. Holdren indicated that the only way to make a real impact is if other nations, including China, voluntarily choose to reduce their own emissions. Chairman Smith pointed out that by the year 2030 the EPA’s proposed power plant rules will only offset thirteen and a half days of equivalent Chinese emissions, but will significantly impact the U.S. economy.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified in July before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the proposed rules are “not about pollution control,” and repeatedly emphasized that EPA views its rule as an investment opportunity in renewables and clean energy. Members today questioned the economics and costs of these actions. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently published a report finding EPA’s proposal will cost the U.S. economy $50 billion per year through 2020.
At a hearing in July, the Committee heard numerous concerns about the administration’s approach, including from The Honorable Charles McConnell, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Energy (DOE) appointed by President Obama. Mr. McConnell declared his frustration in a recent op-ed, asking, “Has this administration convinced itself that it can fly over the public utility commissions and mandate something that is fundamentally useless? Does the EPA think the American public and global community are not capable of seeing the illusion for what it is?”
For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.