ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson today issued the following statement as the association filed comments in opposition to EPA’s proposed rule to further regulate power plant emissions.
“EPA’s proposal is the wrong plan at a critical time for our nation’s energy future,” Matheson said. “It is unrealistic, unachievable, and will reduce key generating resources just as Americans are increasing their reliance on electricity. From deploying microgrids and renewables to launching demand response programs, electric cooperatives take an innovative and diverse approach as they work towards a responsible energy future. But expecting the industry to generate more electricity with fewer resources while adhering to unrealistic timelines is not a serious or practical approach.
“The energy future outlined by the EPA will result in more blackouts, higher costs, and greater uncertainty for Americans. And it will magnify today’s reliability challenges with grave consequences for an already stressed electric grid. When you find yourself in a hole, the first step is to stop digging. The EPA needs to put down their shovel.”
NRECA urged the agency to withdraw the proposal in its entirety and pointed out the following issues:
The proposal hinges on the widespread adoption of nascent technologies: clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. While both technologies are promising, they are not yet widespread or commercially available and have not been “adequately demonstrated” as required by the Clean Air Act.
The proposal violates the Clean Air Act by giving the EPA vast new authority of major economic and political significance without a clear statement from Congress. This disregards the “major questions doctrine” and is inconsistent with the text, structure, and context of Clean Air Act Section 111.
The proposed rules contain timelines that are unrealistic and unachievable. The compliance deadlines endanger new and existing natural gas plants and all but ensure coal units will opt to shut down by 2035. The requisite infrastructure cannot be expected to be in place due to cost, supply chain challenges, permitting, public opposition, land ownership/access, and more.
The proposed rules threaten reliability and affordability.
NRECA submitted written comments to EPA on Aug. 8 as part of the agency’s rulemaking process. The agency is expected to publish the final rule in the spring of 2024.