During the House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing Wednesday titled, “EPA’s Carbon Plan: Failure by Design,” the committee examined the implementation of technology-based standards under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.): “In his ideological pursuit of climate change reform, President Obama has chosen to disregard the facts. A Democrat-controlled Congress rejected “Cap-and-Tax” in 2009 because it would be bad for jobs. Nevertheless, this administration continues to pursue a radical climate change agenda that would have a crushing impact on the economy, especially in coal dependent states like Wisconsin. The EPA rule is yet another example of the White House bypassing Congress to exert its will on the American people.”

Charles McConnell, the Executive Director of the Energy and Environment Initiative at Rice University, said in his testimony, “It’s certainly not impactful environmental regulation,” and was “developed for political leverage in a global climate discussion.” McConnell added, “It impacts a fully developed .18 percent of the global CO2 that’s emitted in the world, less than two-tenths of a percent. It will impact global warming and climate change by .01 degrees centigrade. And that, if you do the mathematics in climate change technology, would affect the level of sea-rise by about one-third the thickness of this dime that I am holding.”

The proposed rule is 645 pages and in an effort to be “flexible,” the EPA has created a convoluted “building-block” structure that will require the states to comply with certain benchmarks.  The concern is that this will inevitably lead to a cap-and-tax plan, at least regionally, since the states have such a short amount of time to compose their own carbon reduction plans. Further, power companies are unsure of how the rules will affect them.  They are dependent on state plans, which have to be constructed in a very short time period.

The EPA’s own analysis of its rules projects an electricity price increase of 6-7 percent in 2020 and annual compliance costs between $5.4 and $7.4 billion in 2020 and $8.8 billion in 2030. Since 2001, energy costs for middle and lower-income families have increased by 27 percent, while their incomes have declined by 22 percent.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, CO2 emissions from U.S. power plants represent only 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Between 2011 and 2030, non-U.S. power sector carbon emissions are projected to increase by 4,692 million tons—offsetting the reductions coming from EPA’s rule more than eight times over. Because of its growing economy, China emits about 45 percent more CO2 in one month than EPA’s proposal will reduce in an entire year.

Like under a cap-and-tax proposal, states that rely more heavily on coal will be more negatively affected. Since some state’s energy needs are more coal dependent, to be in compliance with the building blocks, these states would find themselves at a bigger disadvantage than those states with other energy sources. No state could achieve these goals through technological or operating improvements at coal fired power plants.  Instead, any state plan would inevitably require wholesale changes to how the state’s utilities provide electricity to the public (i.e. more wind, solar, etc.).

The initial high level annual cost estimates for the state of Wisconsin to implement the four building blocks included in EPA’s greenhouse gas proposal are about $175-$350 million in 2020—increasing to about $300-600 million by 2030.

President Obama is ignoring real world issues and exaggerating the benefits of the rule in an effort to meet the demands of a climate change ideology.