Climate Change

Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act of 2015 (S.1324)

Background

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the S. 1324 – the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA) – on May 13, 2015.  The legislation rescinds EPA’s proposed power plant carbon dioxide emissions limits under Sections 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act and restricts any future greenhouse gas (GHG) limits proposed for power plants under those sections. For new power plants covered under Section 111(b), the bill would require EPA to regulate coal-fired and natural gas-fired units separately and, for both categories, prohibit any GHG limits unless they have already been achieved for one year at a representative sample of power plants. For existing power plants regulated under Section 111(d), EPA would have to submit a report to Congress estimating the GHG reductions from the rule and develop individual implementation plans for each state before finalizing a rule. Further, the bill would delay any compliance deadlines imposed by a 111(d) rule until all legal challenges to that rule are resolved. Even after finalizing an existing source rule, ARENA would allow governors to opt-out of any emission limits if they determine that the rule would have a “negative impact” on the state’s economy, electric reliability or electricity costs. The legislation also restricts EPA from withholding federal highway funds if a state fails to meet the emissions target. Finally, in a bill section titled “Restatement of Existing Law,” ARENA would amend Section 111(d) to state that the section may not be used to regulate source categories already regulated by Section 112 of the CAA.

Key Actions

October 29, 2015 – Bill Report No. 114-159 issued by Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.

August 5, 2015 – Approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

June 23, 2015 – Senate Environmental and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held a hearing to discuss ARENA alongside the proposed Clean Power Plan’s impacts.

May 13, 2015 – Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015.