U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced two amendments to the long-term unemployment insurance extension legislation being debated in the Senate that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing costly regulations that result in lost jobs and increased energy costs for South Dakota families and small businesses.
“The best thing we can do for those looking for work is foster an environment of job creation and economic growth in this country,” said Thune. “Instead, the EPA seems to go out of its way to propose initiatives that cost jobs and raise the price of energy for consumers. These commonsense amendments would block heavy-handed government regulations that are inhibiting job creation across this country.”
The first amendment would stop the EPA from finalizing greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations on new and existing power plants if those regulations would destroy jobs or raise energy prices. Thune’s amendment would allow the EPA to continue proposing GHG regulations on new and existing power plants; however, the EPA would not be able to finalize those regulations until the Department of Energy and the Government Accountability Office certify that the new regulations would not directly or indirectly destroy jobs or raise energy prices.
The second amendment would hold the EPA accountable to taxpayers by increasing Congressional oversight of costly regulations. Thune’s amendment would require Congress to vote on any EPA regulation with costs greater than $50 million per year before that regulation could take effect. If Congress rejected the new regulation, the EPA would have to consider less costly alternatives to the proposed regulation.
Just yesterday, Black Hills Power announced that it had filed a rate request with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to raise rates due to new EPA mandates. If the rate increase is implemented, the typical Black Hills Power customer’s rates would likely increase approximately $130 a year.