Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper, ranking member of the Environmental and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, released the following statement in regard to the subcommittee's hearing on "The Impacts of EPA’s proposed Carbon Regulations on Electricity Costs for American Businesses, Rural Communities and Families, and a legislative hearing on S. 1324."

"Thank you, Chairman Capito, for holding this hearing today. I want to welcome the witnesses to the subcommittee. In today’s hearing we will focus on the costs and benefits of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon regulations, known as the Clean Power Plan.

"I was born in Beckley, West Virginia, and have spent most of my adult life in Delaware. As a native of a small town supported by coal mining, and now as a Senator representing the lowest-lying state in the nation, I have a unique perspective on the balance that we must strike to make climate regulations work for each state.

"The debate on the costs and benefits of climate change action is not a new one. For decades, fears of the costs to combat climate change have prevented any real action on this issue in Congress.

"Since coming to the Senate – I have tried to work with my colleagues on a climate compromise that would use market forces to reduce carbon pollution and reduce the costs of compliance. As part of a compromise, I worked with Senator Byrd and a handful of other coal-state Senators on language that would have provided more than $10 billion in incentives to support the deployment of clean coal power plants. This language – along with other language intended to buffer impacts to industry - was included in the Kerry-Boxer bill, which regrettably did not pass into law.

"Instead of coming to a compromise on climate change – Congress came to a stalemate. All the while, it is becoming clearer that the price of inaction is much greater than the price of action.

"The EPA just released a comprehensive report that outlines the alarming truth that failure to act on climate change will result in dramatic costs for our environment and for our economy. The findings are particularly concerning for low-lying coastal states like Delaware. Without action on climate change, we will need to spend billions of dollars in this century to protect our state from rising sea levels and extreme storms. The study also projects that inaction on climate change could lead to extreme temperatures and cause thousands of deaths throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

"It is clear that as each year passes by without action – the more severe, the more costly, and perhaps irreversible, the effects of climate change are becoming. For those of us from states that are already being impacted by climate change, the message is clear - we can no longer afford inaction.

"Many states, such as New York and Delaware, have already taken action to reduce the largest emitter of carbon pollution - power plant emissions. As we will hear today- the economies of these states continue to grow at a faster rate than the states that have yet to put climate regulations in place. However, we need all states to do their fair share to protect the air we breathe and stem the tide of climate change. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan attempts to do just that.

"Under the Clean Power Plan, states are given their own carbon pollution targets and allowed to find the most cost-effective way to find reductions. In fact, it sounds similar to the compromises I tried to find with my colleagues.

"I believe instead of undercutting the Clean Power Plan – we should be working in good faith with the agency to find ways to improve the regulation. For example, the regulation could be improved to:

1) ensure early action states are not penalized for being climate and efficiency leaders;

2) ensure all clean energy is treated equitable; and

3) ensure we meet our carbon reduction goals.

"No compromise is ever perfect, but the worst thing we can do is to do nothing while we try to find the perfect solution. We must act now while the ability to mitigate the most harmful impacts is still within our grasp. The choice between curbing climate change and growing our economy is a false one. Instead, we must act on curbing climate change in order to protect the future economic prosperity of our country. Thank you."