'Job Killer': Congress, energy groups pile on criticism for Biden EPA's proposed power plant regs
West Virginia GOP Sen. Shelly Capito is vowing to use the Congressional Review Act to try to stop the EPA plan.
The backlash is mounting over the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to force power plants to drastically cut their carbon emissions or shutter – with both West Virginia senators now joining fossil fuel advocates in opposition.
West Virginia Sen. Shelly Moore Capito said after the EPA officially announced the new rule Thursday that the agency's plan is the "most blatant attempt yet to close down power plants and kill American energy jobs."
She spoke after the agency announced a proposed rule that, if finalized, would result in almost all U.S. coal plants having to cut or capture nearly all their carbon dioxide emissions by 2038 or close.
The proposal, if made final, would also apply to large, frequently used, gas-fired power plants. And it would require them to capture smokestack emissions using a technology that has long been promised but is not in widespread use in the country, according to the Associated Press.
Capito joins fellow West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, who, as unofficial reports of the proposed rule change emerged in recent days, vowed to withhold confirmation support for any of President Biden's nominees to the EPA.
Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has also called the plan part of fellow Democrat Biden’s "radical climate agenda ... designed to kill the fossil industry by a thousand cuts."
Manchin and Capito's state economy is heavily reliant on fossil fuel, which includes the coal, oil and natural gas industries.
A recent study by the West Virginia Coal Association found coal and coal-fired power plants remain major economic drivers in the state's economy. It found mining and coal-fired power generation as of 2021 still had a $14 billion impact on West Virginia’s economy. And it found the state’s mining industry alone spends over $2.1 billion on wages and that coal operators generated roughly $9.1 billion in economic activity in 2019.
Capito has vowed to issue a formal challenge to the proposal, calling it an "illegal overreach."
She intends to use the Congressional Review Act to try to overturn what she calls the "illegal Clean Power Plan.”
Capito also argued the Supreme Court has already overturned a similar EPA attempt "but not before it devastated communities in West Virginia and across the country."
Wyoming GOP Sen. John Barrasso agreed and added that the high court confirmed that only Congress can "create environmental policy."
The senators are joined in opposition by several GOP House members and energy groups from across the country.
Energy advocacy group Power The Future said the proposed rules, if enacted, would be a "job killer."
"Joe Biden is hell bent on finishing the war on coal that Barack Obama launched more than a decade ago, ignoring Congress, the Supreme Court and reality in the process," said group President Daniel Turner. "Good luck selling this job killer in states like West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania that rely on the industries Biden is seeking to destroy."
The group also cited the Supreme Court ruling last year against the EPA, which stated the agency had overreached in its attempt to regulate power plants.
In addition, the U.S. Oil & Gas Association said regulations are "intentionally designed to make US energy more expensive."
American Petroleum Institute Vice President Dustin Meyer told Just the News, "Our priority remains supporting policies and regulations that enable America to meet the growing need for uninterrupted and affordable energy with proven technologies."
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