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, my name is Ross Eisenberg, and I am Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. The NAM is the largest industrial trade association in the U.S. representing over 13,000 small, medium and large manufacturers in all 50 states. The NAM is the leading voice for the manufacturing economy in Washington, DC, which provides millions of high wage jobs in the U.S. and generates more than $1.7 trillion in GDP. In addition, two-thirds of NAM members are small businesses, which serve as the engine for job growth. Our mission is to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturers and improve American living standards by shaping a legislative and regulatory environment conducive to U.S. economic growth. We appreciate the opportunity to provide comments at this public hearing.
Through these proposed New Source Performance Standards for Electric Generating Units, the EPA is proposing a dramatic and fundamental change to the scope and application of the Section 111 NSPS program under the
Clean Air Act that will have long-term implications for energy and environmental policy in the United States.
Key Comments: The NAM and our member companies are committed to protecting the environment through greater environmental sustainability, increased energy efficiency and conservation, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, we know the U.S. cannot solve the climate change issue alone. The establishment of federal policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must therefore be done in a thoughtful, deliberative and transparent process that ensures a competitive level playing field for U.S. companies in the global marketplace. The EPA’s proposed NSPS is a domestic-only policy that sets a dangerous precedent: that regulations, as opposed to the market, decide which fuels should be utilized in facilities, a precedent which could cascade to other manufacturing sectors. And despite the EPA’s assurances that the rule will not affect existing plants, the EPA in a voluntary settlement agreement has committed to regulate GHG emissions from existing facilities under the same provision, and groups testifying today have urged the EPA to do so immediately.
To issue this rule, the EPA must first make a finding that the source category “contributes significantly to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare.” This Clean Air Act requirement of “significant contribution” is a fundamentally different finding than the EPA made in its prior endangerment finding for motor vehicles under Section 202, which cannot be relied upon as a backdrop for this regulation of utilities. Yet the EPA’s proposal failed to make the necessary finding of significant contribution of GHG emissions for the particular source category, which it is required to do here and for possible future regulations. The EPA’s proposed standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatthour does not reflect the best demonstrated technology for greenhouse gas reductions from new conventional coal-fired power plants, although it can be accomplished by different types of power plants, namely natural gas plants and IGCC with carbon capture and storage. When applied to conventional coal-fired power plants, the EPA’s standard is inconsistent with the EPA’s own Best Available Control Technology (BACT) guidance for GHGs as well as plant-specific BACT determinations the EPA and states have made over the past 18 months. Of particular concern to manufacturers is that some groups
will argue that this 1,000 pounds/MWh standard should be applied as the BACT standard for other types of manufacturing facilities, both new and existing, which are required to get permits but not covered by this rule. The NAM therefore believes that the EPA should not proceed with the proposed NSPS rule at this juncture. The EPA has not met the prerequisites to do so and it has discretion to defer regulation. The Agency has an affirmative duty to “promote predictability and reduce uncertainty” under Executive Order 13,563. And the settlement agreement that gave rise to this regulation does not provide any legally binding requirement for issuing the regulations. It is not a judicially-approved consent decree, and it specifically disclaims having the force and effect of a legal requirement. If the EPA nonetheless intends to proceed, the NAM believes the Agency should consider withdrawing its proposal and restarting with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). This action will provide greater certainty for manufacturers that will be subject to NSPS promulgated in the future.
Thank you for your attention, and the NAM looks forward to submitting a full set of comments to the agency.