Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Harold 'Hal' Rogers (KY-05) cosponsored and voted for the Ratepayer Protection Act (H.R. 2042), which passed the House on Wednesday afternoon. The legislation pushes back on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, as part of its overreaching agenda to shut down existing coal-fired power plants in an effort to rapidly reduce green house gas emissions.

"Once again, the EPA has failed to account for the total impact of its actions on American families. Without coal in our energy mix, families and businesses will pay higher electric bills for less reliable utilities," said Rogers. "The EPA's plan would force coal-producing states, like Kentucky, to meet unrealistic emission standards, locking another target on our jobs and our energy rates. This is yet another attempt by the EPA to override states' rights and force them to adopt policies that are not necessarily in their best interest." 

Under the proposed Clean Power Plan, the EPA sets distinct carbon emission limits for each state's electricity system to reach the agency's goal for a 30 percent reduction nationwide by the year 2030. Each state must then design a program within 13 months that would reduce emissions from existing coal-fired power plants in order to meet these strict standards. For states that don't submit a proposal in 2016, EPA leaders have threatened to force them into a one-size-fits-all plan, showing complete disregard for states where coal is essential to the economy. 

A recent analysis across 31 states estimated that between 2017 and 2031, electricity prices would be 15 percent higher on average under the Clean Power Plan. The costs of the plan would fall disproportionally on those most vulnerable, especially lower income families where energy costs represent a larger portion of their family budgets. In Kentucky, 92 percent of the state’s electricity is generated by coal, contributing more than $3.5 billion to the economy and employing 17,900 miners across the state.

In response, the Ratepayer Protection Act would extend the date by which states would be required to comply with the EPA's rule, in order to allow for pending judicial review. 

The bill would also create a safe harbor for states to protect ratepayers. This legislation would allow a state to opt out of the Clean Power Plan if the state's governor determines there would be a significant adverse effect on retail, commercial or industrial ratepayers, or the reliability of the state's electricity system. States that choose to opt out would not have to submit an emission control proposal or implement a federal plan designed by the EPA.

The legislation also delays implementation of the rule until all court challenges are finalized.

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.