Sunday, June 28, 2015
Billy Long: I will continue to fight out-of-touch EPA regulations
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to hammer away at the Ozarks. It is slated to move forward with rules governing emissions from existing power plants, clearly targeting coal, placing emission levels below realistic levels for coal power plants. The move would likely force premature shutdown of coal power units, which supply 80 percent of Missouri’s power demand and would lead to a spike in our electric bills.
Many of Missouri’s power plants are 65-90 percent cleaner than 20 years ago - a result of more than $1 billion invested to improve plants’ environmental impacts. Apparently though, the Obama Administration does not believe this responsible action to continue providing cleaner, affordable, and reliable power in Missouri is enough. EPA’s pending regulation calls for Missouri to reduce emissions 21 percent by 2030. Further, the agency recommends using Carbon Capture and Sequester technology, which is not yet commercially available, to achieve the regulation’s benchmarks. In fact, the Department of Energy recently pulled its investmentin building the technology at a power plant in Illinois, having already spent $202 million on the project. Even the federal government is pulling its hope for the technology it recommends.
The proposal would require each state to plan its emissions reduction with a tight deadline. States would submit plans to EPA next year to meet preliminary goals in 2020, even though the rule awaits finalization. Such a quick turnaround has energy experts concerned about power supply and reliability. During a May Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation president and CEO told methat deadlines for states to meet standards must be slowed to minimize impact on the electric grid, and he questioned whether alternative sources to coal, such as natural gas, “would be there every day in the cold days of winter.” That has me very concerned for Seventh District Missourians’ quality of life.
The House voted to pass, 247-180, a solution to take the sting out of EPA’s costly regulation.H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, would delay implementation of EPA’s rule until federal courts have an opportunity to decide on the controversial regulation. It also grants states the flexibility to neither submit nor adopt plans to comply with the regulation and would relieve states from fulfilling plans deemed to have a potentially “significant adverse effect” on consumers’ utility rates.
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2042 and am happy to see it pass. I will continue to fight against out-of-touch EPA regulations to keep southwest Missourians’ lights on at night, heat on in the winter, and air in the summer while keeping electricity affordable for all.