Lights Out II: Another Look at EPA’s Utility MACT Rule

Hearing Date: November 1, 2011 12:00 am

Chairman Issa Preview Hearing Statement

Affordable and reliable energy has fueled our economic growth for a century. Businesses, consumers, inventors, and entrepreneurs have all relied on cheap energy in order to create new products and services, which they in turn use to creates jobs and grow the economy. But today, government regulators are poised to enact a new set of rules that could dramatically increase the cost that consumers and job creators pay for energy.

The Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is projected to cost utilities and power generators $10.9 billion in compliance costs every year. In EPA’s rush to enact these rules, the agency cut corners by ignoring a comprehensive cost analysis, hurried through the rulemaking process, and acted under a false sense of urgency driven by EPA allies using a sue-and-settle approach. Rushing this process to completion, along an artificial timeline, is not the path to sound public policy—it is the road to unintended consequences and mistakes.

The costs and impacts of the Utility MACT rule will be severe. States that rely on traditional carbon-fueled energy production will be subjected to higher energy bills. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be jeopardized in the Midwest and Appalachia at a time when scarce resources should be used for job creation, not regulatory compliance. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million job years will be lost by 2020 as a result of the proposed Utility MACT rules. Two dozen attorneys general—Democrats and Republicans from around the country—have filed a brief to support a one year implementation delay to allow thorough consideration of many impacts of the Utility MACT rule. More than one million public comments were received by EPA regarding this rule. It is indeed a public policy issue that affects millions of Americans, businesses of all sizes, and consumers around the country.

Policymaking on this scale must be methodical, accurate and by-the-book, not accelerated for political gain. Today’s hearing will give the Oversight Committee and the public a forum to assess EPA’s rulemaking process, hold the agency accountable for its decisions, and understand what action is needed in the future to ensure that the regulatory process works with—not against—job creators and consumers.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable Kenneth Cuccinelli, II Attorney General Commonwealth of Virginia Panel 1 Document
The Honorable Robert Perciasepe Deputy Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Panel 2 Document
Josh Bivens, Ph.D. Economist Economic Policy Institute Panel 3 Document