A group of US senators led by West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito on Wednesday unveiled a new bill designed to put an end to the EPA’s efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The bill, co-sponsored by 25 Republicans and one Democrat, would effectively make it impossible for the EPA to implement its Clean Power Plan, which seeks to cut CO2 emissions from power plants to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
“The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act enables us to fight back against the assault on coal, and the broader threat to affordable, reliable energy nationwide,” Senator Capito said in a statement.
If adopted, the EPA would no longer be able to set technology-based standards for new power plants until several plants across the country have already achieved those standards for a full year. Federally funded demonstration projects would not count towards achieving the standards.
The bill would also put emission targets outlined in the Clean Power Plan on hold until all legal challenges and issues related to the plan have been dealt with.
In addition, it would require the EPA to draw up specific plans for each state illustrating how they could meet their individual targets, while at the same time allowing states to reject the EPA plan if they found it would negatively impact the economy, electricity supply reliability or ratepayers.
“This bill, which further highlights a ‘way out’ for states from these massive new regulations that seem more motivated by ideology than science – regulations that could negatively impact their economy and hurt both the cost and reliability of energy for their citizens – effectively reiterates the message I relayed in a letter to our nation’s governors in March,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell in March distributed a letter to all 50 governors, asking them to refuse to comply with the EPA plan.
Last month, Oklahoma became the first state to do so.
The backers of the new bill presented it as a bipartisan effort, although only one Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, co-sponsored it.
Green groups criticised the bill.
“Not only does this bill allow power plants to continue spewing unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, it will prevent us from ever putting in place common sense limits,” the League of Conservation Voters said in a statement.