The U.S. House of Representatives is taking a shot at stopping President Obama’s key carbon-controlling legislation. Today, the House passed a measure to halt the EPA’s Clean Power Plan pending anticipated litigation. The bill, called the Ratepayer Protection Act (H.R. 2042) goes to the U.S. Senate now and coincides with a similar Republican Senate effort to suspend the new rule under the claim that the plan will dramatically increase costs for ratepayers.
According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan is a commonsense measure that would reduce carbon emissions from currently operating power plants. “The science shows that climate change is already posing risks to our health and our economy. The Clean Power Plan will maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment now and for future generations,” the EPA website states.
Because power plants are, according the EPA, the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, the proposed rules will reduce the pollution that leads to “soot and smog,” by 25 percent by 2030. Further the Clean Power Plan will lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, the EPA maintains.
The White House said, on Tuesday, that they would veto the bill to halt the Clean Power Plan, saying that the act would undermine the potential protections of the Clean Air Act and stop the United States’ progress in reducing carbon pollution. Legislators from the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s (headed by manmade climate change-denier Fred Upton) Subcommittee on Energy and Power, including Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY); Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA); Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) introduced the law in March. The bill seeks to extend the rule’s compliance dates pending litigation. It also includes a “safe harbor” for states to protect ratepayers, saying that no state must implement the plan if the state’s governor or other state officials decide that the bill would have negative effects on the state’s electricity system or the ratepayers.
While the EPA intends to finalize the rule this summer, a number of states have raised issues about the legality of the plan. A dozen states are suing the EPA, stating that the EPA does not have the authority to initiate and implement such broad carbon emission rules. Other states have enacted or are working on legislation to counteract the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.