Senators Capito, Manchin introduce legislation to roll back EPA's Clean Power Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, today introduced a bill that will be the principal legislative vehicle in the Senate to rollback President Obama's “Clean Power Plan.”
A bipartisan group of six Senators joined Senator Capito at a press conference this afternoon to unveil The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA), which will ensure reliable and affordable energy, put jobs and our economy first, and curb federal overreach.
“President Obama's misguided ‘Clean Power Plan' threatens to drastically reduce coal-related jobs, increase energy prices and reduce reliability. After carefully considering the economic and legal implications of this unprecedented proposal, the need for action is clear,” said Senator Capito. “The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act enables us to fight back against the assault on coal, and the broader threat to affordable, reliable energy nationwide. I am proud to lead the charge against the ‘Clean Power Plan's' sweeping regulations and look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to move this very important legislation forward.”
Key provisions of the bill include:
· Prevents mandates for unproven technology: Before EPA can set a technology-based standard for new power plants, the standard must first be achieved for at least one year at several separate power facilities throughout the country. The bill also prevents the EPA from using any demonstration projects –projects that are reliant on federal support – from being used to set the standard.
· Extends compliance dates: The bill would extend the rule's compliance dates pending final judicial review, including the dates for submission of state plans.
· Holds EPA accountable: This bill would require EPA to issue state-specific model plans demonstrating how each state could meet the required GHG emissions reductions under the rule.
· Enables states to protect ratepayers: The bill would provide that no state shall be required to implement a state or federal plan that the state's governor determines would negatively impact economic growth, negatively impact the reliability of the electricity system or negatively impact electricity ratepayers.
· Protects highway fund dollars: The bill would prevent the EPA from withholding highway funds from any states for noncompliance with the “Clean Power Plan.”
The ARENA Act, which takes into account EPA's proposed regulations for both new and existing power plants, also requires EPA to submit to Congress a report describing the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions the “Clean Power Plan” is expected to reduce, and to conduct modeling to show the impacts of the rule on the climate indicators used to develop the rule.
The bill is co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
“I applaud Sen. Capito for introducing legislation that would allow states to better protect middle class families from the ramifications of the Obama Administration's regressive, and likely illegal, energy regulations,” said Majority Leader McConnell.
“Sen. Capito's measure, which I proudly co-sponsored, demonstrates what I presented during the Budget Resolution, that the Administration cannot withhold highway funds from states that do not comply with its regressive energy regulations that would hit middle and working-class families especially hard. This bill, which further highlights a ‘way out' for states from these massive new regulations that seem more motivated by ideology than science — regulations that could negatively impact their economy and hurt both the cost and reliability of energy for their citizens —effectively reiterates the message I relayed in a letter to our nation's governors in March,” McConnell added.
“The president's backdoor energy tax will threaten grid reliability and stick ratepayers with the bill,” said Senator Thune. “We need affordable and reliable energy to power American industries to build a stronger economy and create jobs, not federal overreach. The ARENA Act takes an important step in holding the Obama EPA's aggressive agenda in check and will protect states from this onerous regulation.”
“I applaud Sen. Shelley Moore Capito for introducing the ARENA Act to protect states and ratepayers from the Obama administration's economically disastrous climate agenda that threatens the affordability and reliability of our nation's electricity grid. This bill will prevent an agency of unelected bureaucrats from dictating what type and how much energy Americans can use to power their homes and their businesses. The president's Clean Power Plan alone will cost $479 billion dollars over 15 years and result in double digit electricity price increases in 43 states, including my home state of Oklahoma. We simply cannot afford these regulations. I look forward to working with Sen. Capito, and my colleagues in the Senate, to help this bill become law,” said Senator Inhofe.
“Middle and low-income households are disproportionately hurt by bad energy policies resulting in high utility bills, because these are the consumers who already spend a greater share of their paychecks on energy,” said Senator Blunt. “President Obama previously admitted that costs would ‘necessarily skyrocket' under his energy policies, and unfortunately, the EPA's Clean Power Plan would hit the poorest and most vulnerable Missourians the hardest. I'm pleased to join my colleagues on this important bill to allow Missouri and other states to protect workers and families from the Obama Administration's burdensome energy regulations, and I'll keep fighting to support Missouri's economic competitiveness.”
“The EPA's carbon emissions rule jeopardizes the reliability and affordability of the electricity that millions of Americans use to power their lives every day,” said Senator Manchin. “The agency's regulations will threaten the stability of our electric grid, low electricity prices, countless jobs in the energy, production and manufacturing sectors, and the American economy. That is simply unacceptable. The EPA cannot place unreasonable regulations and unobtainable standards that will undoubtedly strangle energy production. This legislation will ensure that the EPA's regulations are based on demonstrated technology that is commercially available across the United States, which strikes the proper balance between our environment and our economy.”
“Electric utilities and virtually everyone working in North Dakota's energy industry is concerned about the EPA's impending regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and the effect it will have on jobs and their local economies,” said Senator Hoeven. “Our bill would address that concern for North Dakota and states across the nation by preventing a federal action that is freezing investment in the industry, hindering domestic energy production and impeding the creation of good jobs for Americans.”
"The Obama climate plan is all pain and no gain. It raises costs and destroys jobs, but it doesn't truly impact the global climate. That's according to the EPA's own estimates. This bipartisan bill will protect families from higher energy bills, prevent electricity blackouts and ensure that possible EPA mandates are based on a realistic review of the available technology. It will also protect states that exercise their ability under the law to say “no” when the EPA pressures them to impose state-level mandates. I urge support for these commonsense reforms,” said Senator Boozman.
“Nearly every American household depends on electricity, and yet the Obama Administration is attempting to go around Congress to limit this critical resource,” saidSenator Cruz. “The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act is an important step to reining in the President's executive actions and restoring state control over the energy supply.”
"The EPA's proposed greenhouse gas rules would have a direct and devastating impact in Arkansas and across the country. This bill pushes back against these new standards and it provides states with the flexibility to opt out of these standards if their rates are projected to increase under them. It also rightly requires the EPA to recognize the important differences between our many energy sources, ensuring Arkansas's lignite coal and our coal-fired power plants aren't unfairly penalized. I will continue to work with my colleagues to fight back against President Obama's EPA and to ensure Arkansans continue to have access to affordable, low-cost energy sources,” said Senator Cotton.
“As proposed, EPA's Clean Power Plan would result in higher electricity rates, fewer jobs and uncertainty surrounding the reliability of the electric grid - with little environmental benefit. It threatens the livelihood of South Dakota's only coal-fired plant at Big Stone, which is already in the middle of a $400 million compliance upgrade. Our legislation would give states much-needed flexibility and additional time to comply with this proposal and protect taxpayers from paying the burden through higher electric bills,” said Senator Rounds.
"The Obama administration's war on American energy is a war on American families and a war on American jobs. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will protect good-paying union jobs, our tribes' ability to develop their energy resources and Montana families' access to affordable and reliable energy from the EPA's misguided, one-size-fits-none regulations," said Senator Daines.
“The EPA's coal killing regulations will take more money out of every family's pocketbook in the form of higher energy prices and cost many Americans their job,” said Senator Enzi. “We should be working with our energy producers to create more abundant and affordable energy, not trying to put them out of business. This legislation will put the American people first by taking the teeth out of the president's plan to destroy the country's most reliable energy source.”
“As a 100 percent public power state, Nebraska will be disproportionately impacted by President Obama's overregulation of our electricity system. Families and businesses will be forced to pay for costly plant upgrades, higher electricity bills, and more expensive goods and services. That is why I am proud to cosponsor this legislation to protect Nebraska families from the EPA's proposed takeover of our electric grid. This overreach is unnecessary and with this bill, we can empower states across the country to protect their citizens without harming our economy,” said Senator Fischer.
“Georgia's families and businesses depend upon affordable, reliable electricity,” saidSenator Isakson. “They want to know that the lights will turn on when they hit the switch. The EPA's proposal will limit Americans' energy choices and create unfavorable economic conditions for stakeholders without producing any tangible environmental benefits.”
“President Obama's executive overreach has created a Constitutional crisis in this country, and his latest power grab through the EPA will hurt American families and businesses," said Senator Perdue. "Georgians and all Americans deserve a government that takes steps to grow the economy rather than put in place more burdensome energy regulations. I will continue to fight for a smarter energy policy and prevent President Obama's EPA from this audacious overreach,” said Senator Purdue.
By: Paul Hess
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