U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) toured the Big Stone Power Plant in Big Stone City and heard from Otter Tail Power Company and Northwestern Energy representatives about how the costly new regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will increase electricity costs for South Dakotans. Thune also heard concerns about how these new regulations will destroy good-paying jobs.
“South Dakota families depend on reliable and affordable electricity,” said Thune. “The Obama EPA’s new burdensome regulation on existing power plants is essentially a backdoor national energy tax that will damage our state’s economy and hike electricity prices for all South Dakotans. Under the proposed rule, South Dakota power plants must reduce carbon dioxide emission rates 35 percent by 2030. That reduction mandate is more stringent than the national average and will disproportionately hurt South Dakota families and small businesses.”
Thune has repeatedly called on the Obama administration to withdraw its costly regulations on affordable sources of power, and is an original cosponsor of the Protecting Jobs, Families, and the Economy from EPA Overreach Act (S. 2414). If enacted, this legislation would block the EPA’s proposal unless federal agencies certify that the regulation will not eliminate jobs, increase electricity prices, or reduce the availability of electricity.
According to analysis provided to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on July 31, 2014, South Dakotans could face up to a 90 percent increase in electricity costs on account of the new EPA regulation. Additionally, the full benefits of the $384 million environmental upgrade to the Big Stone Power Plant will not be realized if the plant is forced to shut down for most of the year under the new regulation.
A photo from today’s tour is attached.
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