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On Monday, Jan. 27 the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved by a margin of 29-19 the Energy Security and Affordability Act (H.R. 3826), a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) in the House and Sen. Joe Manchin (D –W. Va.) in the Senate, which would help to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate carbon emissions from new and existing power plants.
The below is a brief summary provided by the House Energy and Commerce Committee of what the legislation would do:
New Power Plants: Any rule establishing GHG standards for new power plants may not be issued unless the EPA Administrator: 1) establishes separate standards for natural gas and coal-fired plants; 2) sets standards for the coal category that have been achieved over a one-year period by at least 6 unites located at different commercial power plants in the United States; and 3) establishes a subcategory for coal-fired plants that use lignite coal and sets standards that have been achieved over a one-year period by at least 3 units located at different commercial power plants in the United States.
Existing Power Plants: Any rule establishing GHG standards or guidelines applicable to modified, reconstructed, or existing plants shall not take effect unless a federal law is enacted specifying the effective date.
Report to Congress: For any rule establishing GHG standards or guidelines applicable to modified, reconstructed, and existing plants, the EPA Administrator shall submit a report to Congress regarding the proposed rule, its economic impacts, and the projected effects on global GHG emissions.
Earlier Rules: Repeals EPA’s prior proposed rules to establish GHG standards for new power plants.
More than 90 percent of small business respondents to NSBA’s 2011 Energy Survey said that they were concerned with the future energy costs of running their business. Eighty-seven percent said that rising and/or volatile energy process have a negative impact on their companies – where 50 percent of their primary energy costs can be attributed to heating/cooling and operating equipment. NSBA believes that adequate, reliable and affordable energy is a key factor in promoting job creation, new business formation and sustainable economic growth for America’s entrepreneurs and small-business community. Keeping electricity and heating costs at a minimum is critical to helping small businesses adapt and remain viable in an increasingly competitive global economy.
NSBA firmly believes that it is in the country’s best interests to pursue an all-of-the-above strategy to achieve adequate and affordable energy from stable and reliable sources while at the same time preventing adverse health effects from pollution and ensuring that any new policy does not place a disproportionate burden on small firms. Accordingly, NSBA believes that there needs to be separate standards for natural gas and coal-fired plants, that any standards need to be commercially viable, and that the EPA should submit a report to Congress on the above-referenced EPA proposed rule’s economic impact (including the potential impact on smaller entities) as well as the projected effects of global GHG emissions.