Clean Power Plan could limit Pa.’s energy future
On Oct. 9, the Environmental Protection Agency received yet another legal slap on the wrist for its overreaching rule-making — this time on “Water of the United States,” an attempt to regulate water sources nationwide. Eighteen states joined in petitioning the Sixth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals to review the rule, which lead to the court’s decision to issue a nationwide stay pending conclusive determination of the legality of the action and blocking implementation.
This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded another EPA rule on mercury air toxins back to the D.C. Court, ruling that the regulation “caused more harm than good” and that the costs of compliance on the public and economy were just too high.
The EPA’s recent track record of circumventing Congress and sidestepping the democratic process has forced our elected representatives to spend time and resources reining in a rogue agency through the introduction of legislation.
The Review Act, introduced by Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., is one such rule designed to stop “high impact rules” with costs more than $1 billion annually from taking effect until court challenges to the regulation have been settled. Over the past decade, the EPA has introduced 19 “high impact rules” with costs more than $90 billion. The “Clean Power Plan” by the EPA’s own estimate will cost $8.4 billion annually through 2030 and business organizations have put the cost at more than $37 billion annually. As Pennsylvania rushes to develop and submit a compliance plan by 2016, it should be noted that the costs associated with the “Clean Power Plan” will be much higher than those of the MATS rule.
Because of the complexity of the electric market and grid, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urged EPA to allow states more time to develop their state implementation plans in order to avoid potential blackouts and drastic price increases. As a result, EPA altered the final rule to allow states to easily request a two-year extension and ultimately submit a final plan in 2018. Unfortunately, the state DEP still plans to submit the final and federally enforceable plan by the fall of 2016.