US House panel advances bills to nix CO2 rules

OREANDA-NEWS. November 06, 2015. The US House of Representatives Energy and Power subcommittee yesterday approved a pair of resolutions that would roll back the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) CO2 regulations on new and existing power plants.

The proposals, HJ Res 71 and HJ Res 72, are resolutions of disapproval to repeal EPA's new CO2 regulations for new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. Subcommittee chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky) is lead sponsor of the resolutions.

"These resolutions of disapproval offer an opportunity to restore the rule of law and protect ratepayers across the country," he said.

The resolutions move to the full Energy and Commerce Committee before a possible vote in the House.

The resolutions, introduced under the Congressional Review Act, are the latest in a series of political and legal efforts to roll back the EPA regulations. The Clean Power Plan for existing power plants is being challenged in court by 26 states, while 23 states have filed a lawsuit against the CO2 limits for new coal-fired units.

"This extraordinary level of opposition is telling given that EPA claims they collaborated with the states," Whitfield said.

Similar resolutions have been introduced in the US Senate, but no action there has been scheduled. The proposals could garner majorities in each chamber, but are likely to fall short of taking effect. President Barack Obama is likely to veto any resolution that reaches his desk. Overriding his veto would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

Most Democrats in the House and Senate are likely to oppose the resolutions, although a couple in the Senate have co-sponsored the proposals.

"EPA is doing the job we asked them to do, and it is unfortunate that Republicans are using every trick in the book to prevent the agency from carrying out its mission," subcommittee ranking member Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) said.

The Clean Power Plan requires states to meet CO2 targets for their existing generation fleet for 2022-2030. The new-unit rules require new coal-fired generators to emit no more than 1,400lb CO2/MWh.