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House Republicans Demand Answers from EPA on Life Threatening Blackouts and Grid Instability


07.12.22

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans are examining the role of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations behind increasing risks of dangerous blackouts, which jeopardizes Americans’ safety and security. Americans are suffering enough from record high and unaffordable costs created by President Biden’s energy crisis. They deserve and need every assurance their air conditioning will come on this summer and heat will come on in the winter to keep their families safe.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and other grid authorities say these blackouts are likely this summer and warn of increasing risks in the future. These threats come as the Biden administration continues its rush-to-green agenda to shut down American fossil energy and leave the nation dependent upon intermittent and unreliable sources that strain the electrical grid.

In the letter from the members to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the members demand to know how the EPA’s regulatory actions are affecting America’s both immediate and long-term grid reliability. In particular, they question the Biden administration’s radical “EGU Strategy” in its climate agenda and how that will affect America’s energy reliability.

This oversight letter follows letters sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) on June 6, 2022, where the members called on the agencies to “assure reliability in the bulk power system and the affordable, reliable delivery of electricity.”

EXCERPT FROM LETTER TO EPA: “We believe the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should also account for its plans and actions to help us assess factors behind both the immediate and the long-term risks to electric reliability across the nation.

“In recent months, you announced a suite of EPA actions to target fossil fueled electric generating units, an ‘EGU Strategy,’ to drive the Biden Administrations climate agenda. This ‘EGU strategy’ includes many major new regulations now under development or proposed – the Interstate Transport Rule, Regional Haze, Risk and Technology Review for the Mercury Air Toxics Rule, a new set of greenhouse gas performance standards, effluent limitations, and a legacy coal combustion residue rule—all of which directly affect power plants that are essential for reliable electric operations.

“We are concerned that EPA actions threaten to accelerate fossil generation retirements, at the very same time electric system operators report growing shortfalls in such baseload capacity will accelerate blackout risks.”

The members make several requests of Administrator Regan, including the following:

  • Describe what specific actions you are taking or are prepared to take to address energy or electricity emergencies this summer in the bulk power system.
  • List all waivers or other emergency actions you are considering or have taken over the past two years in connection with electricity reliability.
  • List all regulatory actions you are considering or have taken over the past two years to alleviate electricity reliability risks.
  • List and provide a description of all interactions with the Department of Energy concerning potential and proposed rulemakings and enforcement activity that may affect the reliable delivery of electricity.
  • List and provide a description of all interactions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning potential and proposed rulemakings and enforcement activity that may affect the reliable delivery of electricity.
  • List and provide a description of all interactions with states concerning potential and proposed rulemakings and enforcement activity that may affect the reliable delivery of electricity.
  • List and provide a description of all interactions with the Independent System Operators, and states concerning potential and proposed rulemakings and enforcement activity that may affect the reliable delivery of electricity.
  • In developing its reported “EGU Strategy” to “marry a range of authorities” to regulate the power sector, has EPA evaluated the cumulative impact of the strategy in accelerating plant closures?  If so, please provide us with these assessments.
  • How will the June 30 Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency affect your “EGU Strategy” to regulate sources in the power sector?
  • Regarding the proposed Transport Rule [Federal Implementation Plan], what specific statutory provisions authorize EPA to impose a federal plan that effectively overrides the electric power sector planning authorities in 26 states?

CLICK HERE to read the letter to Administrator Regan.

CLICK HERE to read Fox News’ exclusive report on the letter.

Press Release