March 22, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Asks Governors To Ignore EPA Power Plant Rule While Some States Oppose Ozone Rule

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent a letter to all 50 governors last week asking them to reject the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rule to regulate greenhouse gases from existing power plants. Quoting left-leaning constitutional scholar (and President Barack Obama supporter) Laurence Tribe, who called the rule “constitutionally reckless,” Sen. McConnell argued that the EPA has overstepped its legal authority. The majority leader told the governors to “carefully review the consequences before signing up for this deeply misguided plan.” 

According to a report last month from the Institute for Energy Research, this rule, along with other EPA proposals, would make the nation’s electricity grid less reliable. Specifically, the report says the EPA rules threaten approximately 130 gigawatts of coal, natural gas, and nuclear power, or “enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 105 million Americans, or one-third of the population of the entire United States.” (Check out our post last week for an explanation of how this rule would affect U.S. states.) 

Meanwhile, also last week, 11 Republican governors wrote to the EPA opposing its proposed rule changing federal ozone standards. According to The Hill, the governors “said that the EPA’s November proposal could put up to 96 percent of the counties currently monitored for ozone above” the proposed threshold, a fact that could severely curtail business development, infrastructure construction and other activities. 

The governors also argued increased costs to businesses because of the rule would eventually harm all Americans. The letter said, “New development resulting in any new ozone emissions in the area must be offset with emission reductions elsewhere – turning economic development into a zero-sum game … The end result, of course, is that the costs will be passed on to hard-working Americans.” 

The governors are right: according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the rule will cost the average U.S. household $830 per year in the form of lost consumption. 

MSCI encourages its members to check out the National Association of Manufacturers’ comments on the proposed ozone rules and several infographics and maps from the American Chemistry Council for more information about how the ozone rule will affect American communities. 

We also encourage our members to support legislation offered by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Thune (R-SD) and Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX) and Robert E. Latta (R-OH) that would keep the ozone rule from taking effect. Stayed tuned to Connecting the Dots for more information as this legislation makes its way through Congress.