Thune Co-Sponsors EPA oversight bill

Following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement it would be imposing costly new regulations on existing power plants, U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) today joined a number of his GOP colleagues in cosponsoring legislation introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to block the EPA’s proposal unless it can prove the regulation will not eliminate jobs, increase electricity prices, or reduce the availability of electricity.

“Middle-class Americans already struggling under the weight of the sluggish Obama economy shouldn’t have to face higher energy costs, fewer jobs, and a less reliable energy grid,” said Thune. “But that’s precisely what the Obama EPA’s latest regulations will do to families and seniors living on fixed incomes. In addition to hurting families, the regulations will destroy jobs and threaten grid reliability, while essentially doing nothing to reduce global carbon dioxide concentrations.”

The Protecting Jobs, Families, and the Economy from EPA Overreach Act (S.2414) would ensure that before the EPA administrator establishes any new regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new or existing power plants that the regulation will not destroy jobs, will not slow economic growth, will not increase electricity rates, and that electricity delivery will remain reliable.

Under the proposed rule, South Dakota power plants must reduce carbon dioxide emission rates 35 percent by 2030. That reduction mandate is more stringent than the national average for the EPA’s proposed emission reductions from existing power plants.

South Dakota families dealing with hot summers, cold winters, and long travel distances already contribute much of their income to energy costs. For South Dakota households with annual incomes below $50,000, one-fifth of their after-tax income is already spent on residential and transportation energy costs, which is double the national average. Unfortunately, the new rule is expected to increase electricity prices by as much as 10 percent.

Additionally, South Dakota’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors are energy intensive and particularly susceptible to higher energy costs. The EPA projects that natural gas prices will increase by over 11 percent on account of this new regulation, which will likely translate into higher costs for fertilizer and manufacturing in South Dakota.

Thune also joined 40 of his Senate colleagues today on a letter asking President Obama to withdraw the costly proposal altogether. The letter states, “Our primary concern is that the rule as proposed will result in significant electricity rate increase and additional energy costs for consumers…[L]ow income households spend a greater share of their paychecks on electricity and will bear the brunt of the rate increases.”