Wicker & Cochran Seek More Time for Public Comment on EPA Power Plant Emissions Rules

Bipartisan Senate Majority Wants Extended Comment Period to Review Complex Regulatory Proposal

September 15, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have endorsed an effort to give the public and stakeholders more time to comment on the expansive and complex carbon emissions regulations being promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wicker and Cochran are among 53 Senators who signed a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that seeks a 60-day extension to the public comment period on proposed EPA rules and guidelines for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.  The Senators argue that the extra time is warranted because of the scope and complexity of the rules that will have significant effects on costs and use of electric generation.

“The Administration’s carbon dioxide rule could be disastrous for our economy, particularly in Mississippi,” Wicker said. “A rule of this complexity requires an opportunity for those affected by the rule to voice their concerns. The EPA must be held accountable for this breathtaking regulatory overreach.”

“The carbon emission limits set by the EPA for our state will affect energy costs for all Mississippians.  The EPA hasn’t provided our stakeholders, including utility companies and MDEQ, with enough information to determine whether the rules are fair, justified or even workable,” Cochran said.

The letter argues that the additional 60 days would give including utilities, state regulators, regional generation and transmission organizations and others time to not only study the rule, but also the more than 600 supporting documents released by EPA.

Both Wicker and Cochran are original cosponsors of S.Res.512 (http://1.usa.gov/1jXFgGj), a resolution calling for the EPA to withdraw its proposed rules and guidelines related to carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.  S.Res.512 faults the EPA and Obama administration for an overly broad interpretation of the Clean Air Act, for disregarding the legislative process and for failing to complete a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed rules.

The resolution states that “the proposed rules would result in a Federal takeover of the electricity system of the United States leading to significant increases in electricity rates and additional energy costs for consumers and elimination of access to abundant, affordable power, putting the manufacturing of the United States at a competitive disadvantage, threatening the diversity and reliability of the electricity supply, and undermining energy security.”