WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke on the Senate floor this morning in support of the bipartisan resolution she introduced with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) under the Congressional Review Act to block harmful Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for existing power plants. The Senate will vote today on this resolution along with a bipartisan resolution introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to stop regulations that attack new coal-fired energy plants and their workers.

Video of Senator Capito’s speech and the remarks as prepared for delivery are included below.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mister President.

“Today, I rise to speak in support of my resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act against EPA’s greenhouse gas regulation targeting existing power sources.

“I am proud to have the support of Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and 47 cosponsors in this bipartisan effort to stop the existing coal plant rule.  

“We have had a lot of discussion about this. It affects all of our states differently. But I think it’s important to talk not just about what this does to our individual states, but what it’s going to do to the country as a whole.

“If the administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan moves forward, hardship will be felt across the country.

“Fewer job opportunities, higher power bills and less reliable electricity will result.

“West Virginia, and other coal producing states like Kentucky and Wyoming, are feeling the pain caused by prior EPA regulations.

“Nearly 7,000 WARN notices, or notifications to employees under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that they could be laid off within 60 days, have been issued at West Virginia mining facilities in 2015. More than 2,600 of those were issued last month alone.

“Our neighboring state of Kentucky lost more than 10 percent of its coal jobs during the first quarter of this year. Kentucky’s coal employment now stands at its lowest level since the 1920s.

“The Energy Information Administration’s most recent annual coal report for 2013 showed that the average number of coal mine employees dropped by roughly 10 percent in other coal producing states like Alabama, Utah and Virginia.

“According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, coal mining employment nationally has dropped by a massive 31 percent in just the last four years. 





“The impact of the war on coal extends far beyond the coal industry.  


“These regulations are affecting all aspects of Americans’ lives.


“Last month, West Virginia’s governor announced that most state agencies would have to endure four percent cuts, largely because of shrinking energy tax revenues.  


“For the first time in many years, the governor cut our education budget in the state of West Virginia because of this war on coal.


“That means less money for roads, for schools and for health care services.


“But the terrible impact that prior regulations have had on West Virginia and the nation would get far worse if EPA’s Clean Power Plan goes into effect.




“The Clean Power Plan is the most expensive environmental regulation that EPA has ever proposed on our nation’s power sector. 


“Compliance spending is estimated to total $29 billion to $39 billion per year.


“Household spending power – the money that American families have in their pockets - will be reduced by $64 billion to $79 billion by this rule.


“A new study by the National Economic Research Associates (NERA), a respected economic analysis firm, of the final rule found that electricity prices in West Virginia would increase between 13 and 22 percent.


“But West Virginia will certainly not be alone in enduring higher energy prices and job loss. 


“NERA projects that all of the lower 48 states will see their electricity prices go up under the Clean Power Plan.  


“As many as 41 states could see electricity prices increase by at least 10 percent. 


“Twenty-eight states could see electricity prices increase by at least 20 percent.


“What does that mean for our nation’s economy?


“The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association found that a 10 percent increase in electricity prices could mean 1.2 million jobs lost across the country. 


“Half a million of those lost jobs would be in rural communities.


“The National Black Chamber of Commerce found that the Clean Power Plan would increase poverty among blacks by 23 percent and poverty among Hispanics by 26 percent.


“Affordable energy matters, especially to those living on fixed incomes. Households earning less than $30,000 per year spend an average of 23 percent of their income on energy costs. 


“These families will suffer most under the administration’s policies.


“Energy reliability also matters.


“Coal is a source of base load generation, and the administration wants to replace coal with intermittent sources.


“What does that mean?


“On a hot day, when air conditioners are running and factories are operating, we can be confident that a coal-fired power plant will be supplying the electricity needed to cool our homes and keep our businesses running.  


“In the cold winter of 2014, when demand for electric heat surged, coal was the energy source that utilities relied on to keep families warm.


“Renewable sources can play an important role in our country’s energy mix, but there will always be times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. 


“It is critical that we preserve more reliable energy sources to meet the demand of powering our economy.




“Innovation, not across the board regulation, should be our focus. 


“But these regulations will not spur innovation.


“The Clean Power Plan sets a standard for new plants that cannot be met by the best commercially available technology. That not only flies in the face of the Clean Air Act, but also makes gradual improvements in technology that would improve our environment impossible to implement. 


“The effect will be to instead choke off our most reliable and affordable source of energy and devastate the livelihoods of many folks around this country.


“Prior to this administration, our country did a laudable job in protecting and improving our environment while promoting economic growth.


“Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, which were signed into law by President George H.W. Bush and supported by senators across the political spectrum. 


“Our air is now the cleanest it has been in decades. We continue to reduce harmful pollutants like sulfur dioxide, as our energy consumption increases and our population grows.


“Since 2005, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by 13 percent. According to EIA, West Virginia emitted 19 percent less carbon dioxide from energy production in 2013 than it did in 2000.


“We should continue to protect our environment, but not at the expense of our families, our communities and our economy.   




“With this rulemaking, the EPA is attempting to impose the same type of cap-and-trade system that Congress rejected just five years ago.


“Having failed at its attempt to pass cap-and-trade legislation, the administration is taking a second bite at the apple by claiming authority under the Clean Air Act to impose a regulatory cap-and-trade program.    


“This raises an obvious question – if EPA had cap-and-trade authority all along, why did the administration go to such great lengths to attempt to pass cap-and-trade legislation? 


“The answer is clear: the Clean Air Act does not authorize a mandatory carbon cap-and-trade program.


“With its Clean Power Plan, EPA ignores forty-years of history and prior regulations that, consistent with the law, always based standards on controls installed at an existing plant.


“Let me be clear: in the 40-year history of the Clean Air Act, EPA has never issued an existing plant program like this one. As one EPA official summed it up to the New York Times: ‘The legal interpretation is challenging. This effectively hasn’t been done.’


“Rather than regulate existing plants using the best available technology, EPA is instead attempting to regulate the entire energy grid. 


“This has not been done before because the Clean Air Act does not authorize EPA to do it. 


“Both states and the private sector are doing what they can to fight back against this regulatory overreach.


“West Virginia is one of 27 states that have filed lawsuits seeking to block this rule. 


“Additionally, 24 national trade associations, 37 rural electric cooperatives, 10 major companies and three labor union representing 878,000 members are challenging the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan in court.




“In less than two weeks, international climate negotiations will begin.


“The world is watching to see whether the United States will foolishly move forward with costly regulations that will do virtually nothing to protect our environment.


“Under the Congressional Review Act, the Senate now has the chance to take a real up or down vote on whether EPA’s Clean Power Plan can and should move forward. This is a legally binding resolution that, if successful, will prevent the Clean Power Plan or a similar rule from taking effect.


“Passing this resolution will send a clear message to the world that a majority of the U.S. Congress does not stand behind the president’s efforts to address climate change with economically catastrophic regulations. 


“Passing this resolution will also demonstrate to the American people that the Senate understands the need for affordable and reliable energy.


“Congress should pass this resolution and place this critical issue squarely on President Obama’s desk.


“America’s economic future is at stake.


“It is time to send a clear signal that enough is enough.”


Click here or the image above for video of Senator Capito’s speech.