WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) today introduced several amendments to the Shaheen-Portman “Energy Savings and Competitiveness” (ESIC) Act, including a bipartisan amendment with U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (Ind.) that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to amend their proposed rule to establish New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) using emission rates based individually for each type of fuel and based on technology that is commercially available.
“Nearly 40 million American households earning less than $30,000 a year devote almost 20 percent or more of their family budget to energy costs, and when those costs go up, that means less disposable income in families’ pockets and less for priorities like groceries, doctors’ visits, and education,” Blunt said. “At a time when the country needs high efficiency coal plants to replace those closing due to other burdensome EPA regulations, the last thing we should do is further prevent businesses and households from having a diverse, reliable, and affordable energy supply.”
“If we don’t address these standards in a common sense way, the affordable, reliable energy that Hoosier families and businesses depend on is in doubt,” Donnelly said. “It is absolutely critical that the EPA understand the impact of these standards and the price their proposed regulation would ask Hoosiers to pay. I urge the EPA to make sure that any NSPS regulation is something that reflects existing technology. We can establish standards that protect our environment without hurting our economy.”
Background on Blunt-Donnelly Amendment:
In March of 2012, EPA issued a proposal to establish New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, setting output based emissions limits for new fossil fuel plants. The proposed rule garnered over 2 million comments and took an approach that is a significant departure from the longstanding practice to establish NSPS individually for each type of fuel. In March 2013, Blunt introduced an amendment to the FY14 Budget to prevent carbon tax. In May 2013, Blunt joined several of his Missouri colleagues in expressing their continued concerns surrounding the Obama Administration’s proposed rule, which would effectively ban the construction of new coal fired power plants.
In the rule, EPA admits that a coal power plant equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could meet the standard, which is a promising but not adequately demonstrated technology. EPA even admits that “today’s CCS technologies would add around 80% to the cost of electricity for a new pulverized coal (PC) plant, and around 35% to the cost of electricity for a new advanced gasification-based (IGCC) plant.” The Washington Post recently reported that the final 2013 rule EPA plans to issue this month will still require CCS.
Background on Other Amendments:
Gas Accessibility and Stabilization Act Amendment: This amendment, also co-sponsored by Senator John Hoeven (N.D.), would reduce gas price spikes by improving the reliability, flexibility, and affordability of so-called “boutique fuels.” Blunt has introduced this proposal on numerous occasions during his time serving in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. For more information on the “GAS” Act, which Blunt introduced in June 2013, click here.
Social Cost of Carbon Amendment: This amendment, also co-sponsored by Senator David Vitter (La.), would ban agencies from using a social cost of carbon estimate in their cost benefit analyses. It prevents any agency from assigning an estimate for any “cost” associated with direct or indirect effects from the emissions from carbon. In June 2013, Blunt joined several of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Office of Management and Budget expressing concern regarding the Administration’s updated estimate for the social cost of carbon.# # #