The Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015 would reduce the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over power plants and states. It would extend the compliance date of any EPA final rule on carbon emissions from electricity generating units. It would also empower states to refuse to implement carbon dioxide reducing plans from the EPA. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued a report on the bill on June 22. Two days later the bill was passed in the House with a vote of 247–180. Only eight Democrats voted for the bill and four Republicans voted against.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 24, 2015.
Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015
(Sec. 2) This bill extends compliance deadlines for rules under the Clean Air Act that address carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants pending final judicial review. This extension applies to any final rule that succeeds either:
the proposed rule entitled "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units"; or the supplemental proposed rule entitled "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: EGUs in Indian Country and U.S. Territories; Multi-Jurisdictional Partnerships." The extension period begins 60 days after the notice of promulgation of a final rule appears in the Federal Register and ends when the rule is no longer subject to judicial appeal or review.
The bill urges the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in promulgating, implementing, or enforcing the rules, to address how the megawatt hours discharged from a pumped hydroelectric storage system will be incorporated into implementation plans adopted pursuant to the rules.
(Sec. 3) A state is not required to submit or follow an implementation plan that addresses carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants if it determines that the plan would have a significant adverse effect on: (1) the state's residential, commercial, or industrial ratepayers; or (2) the reliability of the state's electricity system.
(Sec. 4) The EPA must treat hydropower as renewable energy when implementing or enforcing the rules.