National Mining Associations looks to curb new climate change rule

August 3, 2015

The National Mining Association (NMA) requested the Obama administration to stay its climate change rule for power plants pending judicial review.

The Washington D.C.-based national trade organization said the new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will increase energy costs.

“EPA’s final Clean Power Plan reflects political expediency, not reality for supplying the nation with low cost reliable power,” NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn said in a statement. “Left in place are targets for replacing affordable energy with costly energy.”

The tougher climate change rule for power plants, demands that generators cut their carbon dioxide output 32 percent in the first-ever limits on the pollutant.

The historic regulation from the EPA is the main pillar of President Obama’s climate agenda. It is the biggest piece of his drive to create a legacy and go down in history as the first United States president to take comprehensive action against climate change by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, The Hill reported.

Under the rule, the EPA is asking states to formulate plans to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Plans are due in September of 2016, but states that need more time will be able to request a two-year extension for final plan submissions. Compliance would begin in 2022 instead of 2020 and emission reductions would be phased in gradually up to 2030.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the NMA said the climate change rules are likely to be reversed on appeal, because Congress did not give the agency the power to restructure how the nation produces and consumes electricity.

“Congress did not even give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, much less EPA, that power,” the letter said. “Instead, Congress, in the Federal Power Act, preserved states’ inherent power over electric utility resource planning and development.”

The NMA said the EPA rule would cripple domestic coal production and eliminate thousands of mining jobs. The group is pushing the agency to stay the effectiveness of the rule until after it’s litigated on its merits.

“All of this time, effort, money and controversy will be for naught if the rule is overturned,” the NMA said in its letter to the EPA. “Worse, changes to the grid that states would not choose to make absent the rule will be locked in if a stay is not issued.”

NMA wasn’t the only industry group voicing its opposition to the rule. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said it is keeping all options on the table, including litigation, to protect manufacturers' ability to compete in the global marketplace.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it's also considering litigation to stop the rule it's calling “an EPA regulatory power grab,” from taking effect.



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