Ratepayer Protection Act Approved by House Energy and Commerce Committee
May 11, 2015
At the end of April, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to approve the Ratepayer Protection Act (H.R. 2042), by a vote of 28 to 22. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), allows states to opt out of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan if it would increase their utility rates or jeopardize reliability. In addition, it allows states to postpone submitting their compliance plans until after all legal challenges to the proposed rules are exhausted.
The Clean Power Plan, formally announced on June 2, 2014, is expected to be finalized this summer. The plan seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector nearly 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
At a House hearing on the Ratepayer Protection Act earlier this year, energy economist Eugene Trisko testified on a study estimating that electricity rates under the Clean Power Plan would increase by an average of 15 percent in a majority of states.
EPA officials say the Ratepayer Protection Act would allow states to avoid complying with the agency’s Clean Power Plan, and would be an “unprecedented interference” in the agency’s work. They called the legislation premature since the agency has not yet finalized the existing power plant standards.
In other news regarding EPA’s regulations covering new and existing power plants:
- Texas Attorney General has announced that he plans a lawsuit on the EPA carbon rules.
- Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) announced that she plans to introduce legislation addressing EPA’s power plant rule in May.
- The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and American Public Power Association (APPA) are calling on EPA to initiate a formal review process to examine the impact of the proposed rule on small businesses.
AFS sent thank you letters to the Ratepayer Protection Act's supporters and urged House members to support the measure. AFS members will be lobbying in support of the legislation during the AFS Government Affairs Conference on June 3.