Capito questions cost of Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — States like West Virginia have a steep hill to climb to meet the requirements of the U.S. EPA clean power plan. During a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito quizzed the EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe about some of the details included in the plan.

“I’m sure you’re aware many governors are simply considering not submitting a state plan for compliance, would that trigger a federal implementation plan in 2016 or 2018?,” Capito said.

“The Clean Air Act says if the state doesn’t put forward a plan then EPA should step in and do a federal plan,” said McCabe. “It would be when a state fails to meet a requirement under the rule.”

The economic impact of the Clean Power Plan was the subject of the meeting. McCabe defended the plan and its cost.

“We found by 2030 the average cost of a person’s electric bill would go down by about seven percent as a resulted of increased efficiency in energy coming into the system,” said McCabe.

Capito wasn’t convinced.

“Right now we have 430,000 low and middle income people in West Virginia who’s take home pay is $1,900 a month. They spend 17 percent of their take home money to pay for their energy,” Capito said. “When this goes up, say 20 percent, this is going to have a cost to them, a human cost to them.”

Capito also didn’t buy McCabe’s answers regarding the slight cost elevation to clean the atmosphere.

“I would take exception to that, If it goes up 20 percent and you’re bringing home $1,900. That’s a significant amount,” she said.

Despite questions about the plan, EPA showed no signs of stopping or slowing progress on the measure which is presently being implemented.

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