According to a number of reports, Senator Jim Inhofe (OK) on Thursday, February 16th, will introduce a Resolution of Disapproval regarding EPA’s Utility MACT rule, finalized in December 2011. Under the Congressional Review Act, a resolution needs 30 supporters to be placed on the Senate calendar. If the resolution receives a simple majority in both chambers and is signed by the President, the joint resolution would nullify the Utility MACT rule.
As PACE has written about extensively, EPA’s Utility MACT rule is the agency’s most expensive regulation ever for power plants, imposing steep costs to the economy and endangering hundreds of thousands of jobs. The rule also threatens the reliability of U.S. electricity by resulting in the closure of a predicted 68 coal-fired plants that provide baseload power to American homes and businesses.
On December 21st, Senator Inhofe announced his intention to file the disapproval resolution, issuing a statement that read, “Sadly, this rule isn’t about public health. It is a thinly veiled electricity tax that continues the Obama Administration’s war on affordable energy and is the latest in an unprecedented barrage of regulations that make up EPA’s job-killing regulatory agenda.”
Inhofe alludes to the fact that, although EPA refers to Utility MACT as a mercury rule, 99.98% of the Utility MACT benefits calculated by EPA are not a result of mercury reductions. Almost all of the $90 billion in benefits estimated by EPA by 2016 are generated by reductions in particulate matter already governed by agency rules.
“Utility MACT, as it has been designed by EPA, poses great burdens on our power generation sector with very questionable benefits,” explains Lance Brown, PACE Executive Director. “This resolution, if passed by Congress and signed by the president, can’t stop EPA from regulating mercury, but it can stop a bad piece of regulation from hurting the American people.”