U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) today joined a bipartisan group of 46 senators in sending a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting a 120-day public comment period for its proposed regulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) from existing power plants. The EPA is expected to release the first-ever GHG regulations for existing power plants on June 2nd. If implemented, these new limits on emissions could raise energy costs for American families, effectively shutting down many existing coal-fired power plants, and hurting good-paying jobs in the energy sector.
“South Dakotans depend on affordable and reliable energy from coal and natural gas-fired power plants in the upper Great Plains,” said Thune. “The expected new rule from the EPA would have a direct impact on employers and consumers already struggling in the Obama economy, and South Dakotans deserve every opportunity to make their voices heard throughout this process. The Obama administration continues to promote costly policies and implement burdensome regulations that limit the amount and increase the price of energy throughout the country. Rather than focusing on pleasing the far-left environmental wing of his party, the president should focus on creating jobs and keeping energy costs affordable for middle-class families.”
Thune has been active in demanding that the EPA back down from its destructive and costly attack on affordable energy. In September of 2013, Thune introduced an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill that would have prevented the EPA from implementing any regulations on existing coal plants if those regulations would destroy jobs or raise energy costs. Unfortunately, the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to keep the Senate from considering any amendments prevented this legislation from moving forward.
The text of the senators’ letter is below, and a PDF copy is available here.
May 22, 2014
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Headquarters – William J. Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
We are writing to request that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide at least a 120 day comment period on the upcoming draft proposal for the regulation of greenhouse gases from existing power plants. The EPA should provide this extended comment period as soon as the proposed rule is noticed in the federal register, given the significant impact this rule could have on our nation’s electricity providers and consumers, on jobs in communities that have existing coal-based power plants, and on the economy as a whole.
The upcoming proposal will be far more complex and critical for the industry to deal with than the proposal for new plants, and stakeholders will need time to analyze the rule and determine its impact on individual power plants, reliability and consumer cost, and on the electric system as a whole. This analysis will be no small undertaking, as this will be the first ever regulation of greenhouse gases from existing power plants. EPA recognized that additional time was needed and extended the original 60 day comment period for the Agency’s proposal regarding new source performance standards for newly constructed power plants, so it only makes sense to provide at least the same timeline from the outset for the existing plant rule.
Affordable, reliable, and redundant sources of electricity are essential to the economic well-being of our states and the quality of life of our constituents. While we all agree that clean air is vitally important, EPA has an obligation to understand the impacts that regulations have on all segments of society. As one step toward fulfilling this obligation, we urge you to provide for a comment period of at least 120 days on the forthcoming performance standards for existing coal-based power plants.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.Sincerely,