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The New EPA Rules: Cochran and Wicker Both Sign on To Try and Overturn Regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C.–New rules that went into effect Friday could make your power bill go up in a major way if Mississippi’s power plants have as tough a time as predicted complying with the rules. Both senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, Republicans, have signed on to Senate resolutions to try and overturn the new regs.

Cochran is an original cosponsor of dual Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions of disapproval that would eliminate the regulations associated with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan rule.

“The EPA has spurned all reasonable criticism of this unsound regulatory scheme.  The result is opposition at local, state and federal levels.  These bipartisan resolutions of disapproval represent a continued effort in Congress to address those concerns,” said Cochran.  “I am cosponsoring these measures because rural and urban Mississippi, despite substantial taxpayer investments in so-called clean technologies, will be penalized disproportionally under this rule.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on Tuesday introduced S.J.Res.23 to use the CRA to overturn regulations on new or modified power plants.  The CRA allows Congress to initiate, review, and overturn major federal rulemakings before the rules take effect.

The second resolution, S.J.Res.24, was offered by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) to addresses the Clean Power Plan final rule requiring states to submit plans to control carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.  The Capito resolution is related to the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015, which Cochran cosponsored in June.

In July, a united Mississippi congressional delegation signed a letter to the EPA, the United States Department of Agriculture, and White House Office of Management and Budget that called for an investigation into whether carbon dioxide reduction goals associated with the Clean Power Plan are achievable at a reasonable cost.  The delegation argued that the strict Clean Power Plan goals are prohibitively expensive and unattainable by Mississippi, despite significant investments to improve air quality in the state. (http://1.usa.gov/1JhekvQ)

“Congress is taking strong steps to challenge this regulatory assault,” said Wicker, who also signed onto the resolutions. “The President’s agenda is a blatant overreach that would destroy jobs and lead to skyrocketing energy costs for people and businesses in Mississippi. Even those who agree with the goal of these regulations have said that EPA’s plan cannot work for our state.”

Under the “Congressional Review Act” (CRA), Congress can overturn actions by a federal agency, like EPA, following the formal publication and submission of a rule to Congress. If the two CRAs are enacted into law, they would nullify both sections of the costly power rule even if portions of the plan have already gone into effect. Leader McConnell is expected to schedule votes soon on the two proposals, which are co-authored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D, respectively.

The Administration’s expensive plan consists of two major phases of implementation:

  • First, the finalized regulation would limit the construction of new coal-fired plants. This portion would effectively ban coal-fired power plants from being built in the future, thus eliminating the potential for coal jobs in America.
  • Second, the Administration has proposed and finalized a regulation to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants. In effect, this regulation would force the closures of coal-fired power plants throughout the country.

 

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