Press Release: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has joined a bipartisan group of 52 fellow Senators in writing to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting that the EPA provide a 60-day extension for the public comment period on its proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The letter asks the EPA to extend the deadline to allow Texas and other states additional time to analyze the potential impact on adequate power generation and grid reliability and respond accordingly.
At a recent House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Kenneth Anderson, a commissioner of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, testified that Texas would be disproportionately impacted under the rule, potentially responsible for as much as 25 percent of the nation’s proposed reduction, while only producing 11 percent of the country’s power.
“This extension is critical to ensure that state regulatory agencies and other stakeholders have adequate time to fully analyze and comment on the proposal. It is also important to note that the challenge is not only one of commenting on the complexity and sweeping scope of the rule, but also providing an opportunity to digest more than 600 supporting documents released by EPA in support of this proposal,” the Senators wrote.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Headquarters – William J. Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
We are writing to request that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide a 60 day extension of the comment period for the “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units.” While we appreciate EPA granting an initial 120 day comment period, the complexity and magnitude of the proposed rule necessitates an extension. This extension is critical to ensure that state regulatory agencies and other stakeholders have adequate time to fully analyze and comment on the proposal. It is also important to note that the challenge is not only one of commenting on the complexity and sweeping scope of the rule, but also providing an opportunity to digest more than 600 supporting documents released by EPA in support of this proposal.
The proposed rule regulates or affects the generation, transmission, and use of electricity in every corner of this country. States and stakeholders must have time to fully analyze and assess the sweeping impacts that the proposal will have on our nation’s energy system, including dispatch of generation and end-use energy efficiency. In light of the broad energy impacts of the proposed rule, state environmental agencies must coordinate their comments across multiple state agencies and stakeholders, including public utility commissions, regional transmission organizations, and transmission and reliability experts, just to name a few. The proposed rule requires a thorough evaluation of intra- and inter-state, regional, and in some cases international energy generation and transmission so that states and utilities can provide the most detailed assessments on how to meet the targets while maintaining reliability in the grid. This level of coordination to comment on an EPA rule is unprecedented, extraordinary, and extremely time consuming.
It is also important to note that the proposed rule imposes a heavy burden on the states during the rulemaking process. If the states want to adjust their statewide emission rate target assigned to them by EPA, they must provide their supporting documentation for the adjustment during the comment period. The EPA proposal provides no mechanism for adjusting the state emission rate targets once they are adopted based on the four building blocks. So the states need enough time to digest the rule, fully understand it, and then collect the data and justification on why their specific target may need to be adjusted, and why the assumptions of the building blocks may not apply to their states. This cannot be adequately accomplished in only 120 days.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
The letter, led by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), was signed by Sen. Cornyn and Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Bob Corker (R-TN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Senator Cornyn serves on the Finance and Judiciary Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.