December 21, 2011

Manchin Statement on New, Onerous EPA Rules

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) released the following statement today about new regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that – by the agency’s own estimates – will cost billions to implement, causing significant job losses at a time when West Virginians and Americans can least afford them. The EPA issued its final Utility MACT rule today. 

“Today’s announcement of yet another onerous rule by the EPA completely ignores the devastating impact these regulations will have on jobs and our economy, not only in West Virginia but across this nation. The Utility MACT Rule, combined with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that was finalized earlier this year, are two of the most expensive regulations ever to be imposed, and every American should be concerned about their effect on energy prices, the reliability of our power supply, our coal mining industry and most importantly our families,” Senator Manchin said. “I believe we can find a responsible and reasonable balance when it comes to the environment and our energy needs as a nation. My desire to achieve this balance is why my Republican colleague Dan Coats of Indiana and I introduced the Fair Compliance Act – a commonsense, bipartisan piece of legislation that would create a fair timeframe to comply with new rules. I hope that Congress will address these regulations, and take up the Fair Compliance Act as soon as possible, to prevent the potential loss of a million jobs, increased utility rates, and more damage to our economy.” 


Senator Manchin and Senator Coats introduced the Fair Compliance Act of 2011 in November to create a more reasonable timeframe and prevent utility rate hikes and job losses. 

The Utility MACT rule requires a decrease in mercury emissions at power plants. The CSAPR requires utilities to reduce power plant emissions that may cause air-quality complications in neighboring states.  

The Manchin-Coats bill would provide utilities with an extension of time and synchronize the implementation schedule for complying with the rules. The bill would extend the date of compliance for Utility MACT by two years and for CSAPR by three years changing the deadline for both rules to January 1, 2017.  Under the current EPA rules, the compliance date for Utility MACT is January 1, 2015. The deadline for Phase I of the CSAPR is January 1, 2012 and Phase II is January 1, 2014. The Manchin-Coats bill would postpone Phase I until January 1, 2015 and Phase II of CSAPR until January 1, 2017. The compliance date is the date by which a utility either must have installed emissions controls or retired the pant.

The bill also would require utilities to submit implementation plans to ensure compliance occurs. To safeguard the reliability of the electric grid and avoid brownouts, utilities would need to submit their implementation plans to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

Please see the attached fact sheet for additional information.