Senator John ThuneSouth Dakotans want to see the federal government take steps to make it easier for businesses in our state to create jobs and remain strong. Unfortunately, some of the proposals coming out of Washington today would have an opposite effect. One such policy is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from businesses, power plants, and more.
What makes this plan especially disappointing is that it is being done without any input from Congress. Last year, the House of Representatives passed a controversial bill to cap greenhouse emissions, but the same plan was met with strong bipartisan opposition in the Senate. In light of their inability to move a new tax on energy through Congress, the Obama EPA designed rules to tax energy without any direct authority or input from Congress.
In March, I sent a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to remind her just how unpopular the EPA’s proposal is in the Senate. In particular I emphasized how this new regulation would impose an expensive emissions permitting process on millions of employers in the United States. With current economic conditions, an increased regulatory burden on businesses will do little to create new jobs, which South Dakotans know is our nation’s most pressing need.
Imposing permits and fines on even the smallest emitters will mean higher costs for South Dakotans. Small businesses like dry cleaners would face new limitations, and hospitals and ethanol plants would face additional costs. New restrictions on emissions would significantly increase the cost of fuel and electricity, which would further strain family budgets and result in higher prices for nearly all goods and services.
The Senate is expected to soon vote on a resolution that would officially disapprove of the EPA’s actions, and if enacted would end EPA’s proposal altogether. The resolution has over 40 bipartisan cosponsors, including myself. The resolution is supported by several energy producers and agricultural groups in South Dakota and across the nation.
Containing greenhouse gas emissions is a serious issue, but levying a new tax on small businesses and major employers in the United States is not the right solution. Major emitters like India and China will not be affected while the federal government ties the hands of American businesses. Congress must stand up to the EPA’s backdoor energy tax, and I am proud to be working on resolving this issue.