I guess we should not be surprised to learn that the infamous Southern Company will headline the April 15 hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, as it examines key EPA clean-air standards to reduce toxic emissions from electric power plants, industrial boilers and cement plants. See attached witness list and memo, below.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
These standards are crucial public health protections. EPA projects that combined they could prevent as much as 26,000 premature deaths a year. (Power plants: up to 17,000; boilers: up to 6,600; cement kilns: up to 2,500).
These standards are incredibly cost-effective. And they also would create jobs. The power plant rule alone would create 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs, according to EPA’s calculations.
But that appears to be of little interest to the Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including subcommittee Chair Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), a big defender of coal dating back to his days as a lobbyist for the coal-hauling CSX railroad company. (They are giving this hearing the misleading title “The American Energy Initiative,” which perhaps was aided by pollster/propagandist Frank Luntz. A more apt name: “Poisoning America in the interests of campaign contributors.”)
In his quest to kneecap EPA, Whitfield has invited a veritable rogues’ gallery of black-hat witnesses. They are led by Southern Company, a long-time opponent of EPA clean-air standards, and DTE Energy, sued last year for pollution violations http://michiganmessenger.com/40636/epa-sues-dte-energy-over-expansion-of-monroe-coal-plant.
Other witnesses include the head of Titan America LLC, which operates numerous cement plants and who is also chair of the fierce EPA critic, the Portland Cement Association. (Titan, ironically, just received an EPA award: http://www.worldcement.com/sectors/cement/articles/Roanoke_Cement_Company_in_Virginia_receives_a_Star.aspx ) as well as a vice president from Meadwestvaco, a prominent member of the anti-EPA National Association of Manufacturers and critic of EPA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFZQv06crPE
As you may know, EPA is not sending a witness because the witch hunters threw this panel together so quickly. But we expect the clean-ups will be defended by our friend John Walke, of NRDC, and by Michael Bradley, head of the Clean Energy Group, which has praised the power plant proposal.
Here is the memo from the subcommittee staff and the witness list:
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER
Majority Memo for Subcommittee Hearing
Attached is a majority briefing memo for the Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing entitled “The American Energy Initiative”, scheduled for Friday, April 15, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. This fifth day of the hearing on The American Energy Initiative will focus on "Recent EPA Rulemakings Relating to Boilers, Cement Manufacturing Plants, and Utilities."
A bipartisan staff briefing for this hearing will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building. The Democratic staff briefing will follow immediately after the bipartisan briefing in 2327 Rayburn.
If you have any questions concerning this hearing, please contact Mary Neumayr at extension 5-2927.
THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE
April 13, 2011
TO: Members, Subcommittee on Energy and Power
FROM: Subcommittee on Energy and Power Staff
RE: Hearing on “The American Energy Initiative”
On Friday, April 15, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold the fifth of a multi-day hearing entitled “The American Energy Initiative.” This hearing will focus on recent EPA rulemakings relating to utilities, cement manufacturing plants, and boilers. Witnesses are expected to testify on the impacts and the timelines for implementing these rules, in the context of the economy and other recent EPA rulemakings.
The invited witnesses are:
Mr. Tom Fanning Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Southern Company
Mr. Anthony F. Earley, Jr. Executive Chairman DTE Energy
Mr. Aris Papadopoulos President and CEO Executive Director
Titan America LLC
Mr. Michael J. Bradley The Clean Energy Group
Mr. Dirk Krouskop VP, Safety, Health & Environment MeadWestvaco Corporation
Mr. Paul Kempf Director of Utilities University of Notre Dame
Mr. John Walke Senior Attorney and Clean Air Director
Natural Resources Defense Council