U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., joined Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in introducing a bill to rollback President Obama’s unprecedented proposal to regulate new and existing coal power plants.
According to the Wyoming senators, The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA) would combat the de facto ban and early retirement of coal power plants, known as the “Clean Power Plan”, in order to ensure reliable and affordable energy, put jobs and our economy first and curb federal overreach.
“The EPA’s coal killing regulations will take more money out of every family’s pocketbook in the form of higher energy prices and cost many Americans their job,” said Senator Enzi. “We should be working with our energy producers to create more abundant and affordable energy, not trying to put them out of business. This legislation will put the American people first by taking the teeth out of the president’s plan to destroy the country’s most reliable energy source.”
“The Obama Administration’s energy tax will shut down coal plants, destroy jobs and make energy prices skyrocket for families in Wyoming and across America,” said Barrasso. “Today, a bipartisan group of senators took action to stop this extreme plan and to empower state officials to fight back. Our bill puts states back in the driver’s seat by giving them the flexibility they need to ensure Americans continue to have access to affordable and reliable sources of electricity. We are going to continue to take every action possible to defeat the Administration’s anti-coal agenda.”
Key provisions of the bill include:
- Prevents mandates for unproven technology: Before EPA can set a technology-based standard for new power plants, the standard must first be achieved for at least one year at several separate power facilities throughout the country. The bill also prevents the EPA from using any demonstration projects –projects that are reliant on federal support – from being used to set the standard.
- Extends compliance dates: The bill would extend the rule’s compliance dates pending final judicial review, including the dates for submission of state plans.
- Holds EPA accountable: This bill would require EPA to issue state-specific model plans demonstrating how each state could meet the required GHG emissions reductions under the rule.
- Enables states to protect ratepayers: The bill would provide that no state shall be required to implement a state or federal plan that the state’s governor determines would negatively impact economic growth, negatively impact the reliability of the electricity system or negatively impact electricity ratepayers.
- Protects highway fund dollars: The bill would prevent the EPA from withholding highway funds from any states for noncompliance with the “Clean Power Plan.”
The ARENA Act, which takes into account EPA’s proposed regulations for both new and existing power plants, also requires EPA to submit to Congress a report describing the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions the “Clean Power Plan” is expected to reduce, and to conduct modeling to show the impacts of the rule on the climate indicators used to develop the rule.
The bill is also co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Rand Paul, R-Ky., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Dan Coats, R-Ind., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, John Boozman, R-Ark., David Perdue, R-Ga., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Tom Tillis, R-N.C., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and Bill Cassidy, R-La.