More Time Given for Public Comment on Onerous Proposed Carbon Rules

Reacting to business and political objection, the Environmental Protection Agency today added 45 days to its original Oct. 16 deadline to comment about proposed, stringent, and onerous carbon emission rules that would hamper electricity production and increase rates for business, industry, and households.

Business groups including the Business Council of Alabama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama’s U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, and others, have contacted the EPA about rules the EPA said will reduce carbon pollution, a questionable claim at best considering that the rules do not affect foreign power plants.

BCA Environmental Committee member Trey Glenn testified Aug. 1 at an EPA hearing on proposed regulations concerning carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Glenn, a former director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, said proposed EPA rules would increase electricity prices and hinder economic growth.

“Neither consumers, nor small businesses or our critical manufacturing industry can afford ‘skyrocketing’ rates and certainly not 30 percent higher rates,” BCA President and CEO William J. Canary said. “The BCA supports efforts to delay implementation of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act and opposes caps or taxes on carbon emissions that would put Alabama businesses at a competitive disadvantage with other states or nations.”

Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, today announced a 45-day extension of the comment period for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposal. The deadline is now Dec. 1, instead of October 16. She said the EPA still plans to meet a June 2015 deadline to issue the rule.

The proposed rules of 1,600 pages establish carbon emissions targets for each state but do not explain the data or a rationale to justify the differing targets. The proposed rules mandate that the nation’s existing power plants will have to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels.

Without full EPA explanation and disclosure of underlying assumptions and data to support binding emission targets, stakeholders cannot fully evaluate the impacts of the EPA’s proposal. The EPA has failed to address the issues, has not provided the legal authority it claims to be able to adopt rules and regulations, nor what it will do if it does not approve of individual state implementation plans, said Karen Harbert, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

A link to send comments to the EPA is here.

The Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy is a co-chair of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, which has 160 members. “Without significant changes, EPA’s proposal will threaten the availability of affordable and reliable electricity to American families and businesses,” the Institute said.

The BCA is the sole statewide partner in Alabama of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. The mission of the Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean.

-Dana Beyerle