RRC Submits Comments on Proposed EPA Rules that Could Stifle Reliable Energy to Protect Texans

August 15, 2023

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) submitted joint comments opposing the EPA’s proposed rule that would add regulations to fossil fuel-fired electric generating units in attempts to decrease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The likely outcome of this rule could result in the elimination of coal-fired units and a reduced ability to operate natural-gas fired power plants, which are critical for electricity supply in a state experiencing a booming population like Texas.

The comments also detail the unrealistic assumptions and artificially high metrics EPA used to estimate the climate benefits of the rule. Additionally, the supplemental costs involved, along with the additional infrastructure that would be necessary to implement the proposed requirements, would impose unreasonable costs in comparison to the anticipated benefits, all while placing reliable fuel supply for the electric grid at risk.

“The EPA continues to undermine the needs of Americans,” said RRC Chairman Christi Craddick. “The latest proposed rule is unrealistic and potentially dangerous as it reduces or eliminates access to electricity for consumers. During extreme heat waves, like we are currently experiencing in Texas, and extreme cold snaps, access to power from natural gas and coal is critical for survival. I am proud to join with TCEQ and push back against these outrageous proposed regulations.”

"President Biden’s obsession with ‘net-zero’ is propping up unreliable energy sources that only make our electric grids unstable and leave consumers with higher energy costs,” said Commissioner Wayne Christian. “In May, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission warned that the retirement of thermal-based energies is leaving our grids extremely vulnerable to power blackouts, and this decision will only lead to less investment in those sources and less reliable energy on our grids.”

“Our state and our nation are at a crossroads when it comes to the future reliability of the electric grid. Unfortunately, the EPA’s proposed rule will send us further down the path of less dependability and higher consumer costs,” said Commissioner Jim Wright. “Since 2000, the population of Texas has increased by 43% and our economy has grown by 88%, yet we’ve added only 18% more dispatchable generation to our electric grid. The EPA’s short-sided approach will only serve to further disincentivize investment in reliable electric generation and reduce our ability to provide electricity when it is needed most.”

A final rule from the EPA is expected in early 2024.

The joint comments submitted by the RRC and TCEQ can be found at this link https://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/cxxps5re/epa-comments-081423.pdf


About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.