Rep. Smith demands cost analysis of EPA climate rule

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a cost and benefits analysis of its carbon pollution rule on power plants.

In a letter sent to EPA chief Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOvernight Energy: Volkswagen reaches .7B settlement over emissions Volkswagen reaches .7B settlement for emissions cheating Dozens of senators push EPA for higher ethanol mandate MORE on Monday, Smith demanded the EPA provide an analysis, arguing the “American people deserve the facts.”

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“EPA’s sweeping mandate requires a fundamental restructuring of our nation’s energy system; it transforms how electricity is both produced and used,” Smith wrote in the letter.

“The broad new authority EPA claims raises critical questions about our ability to meet demand for reliable, affordable electricity,” he added.

Smith said the EPA should “immediately” conduct the analysis before the agency’s comment period finishes on Dec. 1.

In the letter, Smith accuses the EPA of “bias” and “major omissions” in its evaluation of the proposed rule, which requires the nations’ fleet of existing power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

The EPA contends it sifted through thousands of comments and went through hundreds of meetings before even proposing the rule.

Republicans have begun an investigation into the EPA’s proposal, which they claim copied one crafted by the green group the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The EPA has fiercely denied any connection between the two proposals, arguing that it took suggestions from everyone, including environmentalists, utilities, industry and others.