Manchin Offers Commonsense, Bipartisan Proposal to Improve EPA Rules
Manchin also votes in favor of Senator Rand Paul’s measure to eliminate onerous EPA rule
**FTP, Audio and Video Available**
Washington, D.C. – After a measure to eliminate an onerous EPA rule for power plants failed in the U.S. Senate today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) offered his own commonsense, bipartisan bill to improve compliance with two of the EPA’s most expensive rules ever on coal plants.
The “Fair Compliance Act of 2011,” which Senator Manchin wrote with Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) would create reasonable timelines and benchmarks for utilities to comply with two major Environmental Protection Agency to protect jobs and keep utility rates stable. The legislation would extend the compliance deadline for the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) by three years and the deadline for the Utility MACT rule by two years – so that both would fall on Jan. 1, 2017.
“If people truly want to protect jobs and our environment, fix our energy problems and fix these rules, the bill I offer today is the right solution,” Senator Manchin said. “If we don’t extend the deadline for utilities to responsibly comply, we’ll lose jobs, jeopardize the reliability of our electric grid and hike rates on consumers. So, we need to find a balance with our economy and the environment. That’s why I’m proud to stand up today with my friend Senator Coats, the Republican from Indiana, to offer a commonsense solution to this problem – and to move forward with responsible, reasonable legislation that would get plants in compliance.”
According to the EPA’s own estimate, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule would cost $2.4 billion. In fact, using the EPA’s data, National Economic Research Associates found that the two rules combined would result in 1.4 million lost job-years by 2020.
Senator Manchin voted in favor of Senator Rand Paul’s bill to eliminate the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule completely.
“Let me be honest, Senator Paul’s bill was not perfect – no legislation is,” Senator Manchin said. “But something must be done, and that is why I stood up today and offered a reasonable, commonsense and bipartisan solution to these critical problems.”
After Senator Paul’s legislation was defeated, Senators Manchin and Coats held a colloquy – the formal term for a conversation – on the Senate floor describing how their legislation is now the best path forward.
Senator Manchin’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery are below.
I rise today to speak about a very real problem: making sure we do everything we can to protect jobs, safeguard our environment and make sure utility companies can provide reliable and affordable electricity from our domestic resources.
There are two EPA rules that are at the heart of this issue: the Utility MACT Rule, which would require a decrease in mercury emissions at power plants; and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which would require power plants to lower emissions of pollutants that may reduce air quality in neighboring states.
Some utilities have already complied with these rules; many haven’t. You can put the blame for past sins on anybody and everybody. But we’ve proven here in this body time and again that can you can’t fix anything by blaming anybody else.
Let me be clear: I believe that both of these rules aim to accomplish important objectives. But as they’re written, they’re nearly impossible to realize. If we don’t extend the deadline for utilities to responsibly comply, we’ll lose jobs, jeopardize the reliability of our electric grid and hike rates on consumers.
So, we need to find a balance with our economy and the environment.
That’s why I’m proud to stand up today with my friend Senator Coats, the Republican from Indiana, to offer a commonsense solution to this problem – and to move forward with responsible, reasonable legislation that would get plants in compliance.
We are offering a bill today – the Fair Compliance Act of 2011 – that has broad support from labor and industry. It’s rare for so many groups with different points of view to come together behind a bill, but let me give you a list of some of our supporters:
- Building and Construction Trades Department
- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- United Mine Workers of America
- American Electric Power
- Electric Reliability Coordinating Council
I believe that this bill provides a reasonable, responsible extension of the deadlines while also protecting our most important priorities:
- Our environment;
- The reliability of our electric grid;
- The consumers who have to buy energy;
- Using our own domestic resources so we depend less on foreign energy;
- And, most importantly, the thousands of jobs that are on the line.
Thank you, and I yield the floor to my friend, the Senator from Indiana.
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Audio footage is available here:
Video footage is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIZY6SIw4Ns&feature=youtu.be
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