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GOP wants more electric reliability assurances for climate rule

Republican lawmakers are calling on energy regulators to get more involved with the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants.

Top energy legislators in the House and Senate said they’re concerned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hasn’t done enough to protect electricity reliability in the proposed rule.

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The members of Congress want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to convene a “technical conference” with FERC, state representatives and stakeholders to examine reliability issues in the rule, which aims to cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent.

“EPA lacks the mission and the expertise to determine what is necessary to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electric grid,” they wrote.

The letter was signed by incoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE (R-Alaska), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonWarren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Preventing next pandemic requires new bill's global solutions Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' MORE (R-Mich.) and Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.), chairman of that panel’s Energy and Power Subcommittee.

The requests follow a major criticism Republicans have lodged on the EPA for its climate rule. They say the rule would necessarily shut down so many coal-fired power plants it could cause power blackouts in some areas.

Meanwhile, they say EPA officials did not properly consult with FERC to determine the impacts on reliability, one of FERC’s main missions.

The EPA has maintained that any reliability problems would be unrelated to the rule, and that other energy sectors will step up to replace coal.

“The reliability of the grid is not optional,” Murkowski said Monday in a statement announcing the letter.

“It has been apparent for some time that we may need to protect the grid from our own federal actions and ensure the growing number of environmental rules do not negatively impact reliability,” she said.