Wicker Leads Colleagues in Challenge to EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor Rule’

June 8, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today led Senators Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., John Boozman, R-Ark., Mike Braun, R-Ind., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., James Risch, R-Idaho, Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Todd Young, R-Ind., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., in introducing a formal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Good Neighbor Rule” through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval.

The senators are seeking to overturn the rule, which will place severe restrictions on state emissions based on a questionable methodology that assigns fault to “upwind” states like Mississippi for other “downwind” state emissions. The EPA’s rule comes after years of good-faith efforts from states to address the emissions concerns through individual State Implementation Plans (SIP).

“The EPA claims that the state of Mississippi is causing emissions problems for Dallas and Houston. This is an entirely unconvincing assertion, which will have severe consequences for development in our area,” Wicker said. “With its so-called ‘Good Neighbor’ rule, the EPA has decided to discard years of good-faith efforts by states to address emissions concerns. Overturning these plans by executive fiat is wrong and exceeds the role of the EPA. I am glad to be joined by so many like-minded colleagues in challenging this rule.”

“The Biden administration continues to wage war on American energy through job-killing regulation after job-killing regulation, including the EPA’s ‘headwind rule,’ which directly targets our nation’s baseload power generation and manufacturing,” EPW Committee Ranking Member Capito said. “Not only does this proposal burden 23 states with costly emissions reductions requirements for power plants, it will also impact specific industries such as steel, cement, and pulp and paper for the first time. I appreciate Senator Wicker, a member of the EPW Committee, for leading this effort in Congress to combat the regulatory overreach of President Biden’s climate agenda.”

“The problem with rules like this is that American consumers are the ones who will pay the price. The Biden EPA’s blatant and illegal attacks on domestic energy cannot go unchallenged. I’m proud to support this bill. American innovation and production must be put first to bolster energy security, and I hope the President will reconsider this attack on the domestic energy industry,” Ricketts said.

“The EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule makes it impossible for Arkansas and other states to comply with its misguided regulations,” Boozman said. “We can find a practical balance between protecting air quality and preventing federal overreach. This CRA will ensure American manufacturers aren’t at a disadvantage as a result of unattainable standards.”

“The EPA’s relentless war on American energy and industrial production knows no bounds. The EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule seeks to sideline responsible, state-led efforts to control emissions in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach from unelected bureaucrats in Washington,” Barrasso said. “This is bad policy that will lead to premature closures of power plants, limit industrial production, and increase prices for American families. This resolution protects states’ rights and ensures states can continue being good neighbors without a bad Washington landlord from the EPA.”

“The EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor Rule’ is anything but. It is a top-down set of burdensome regulations that will harm both energy production and manufacturing in Arkansas and many other states,” Cotton said.

“The Biden administration’s Good Neighbor Rule is shortsighted and dangerous,” Lummis said. “The EPA’s rush to implement this rule would prematurely shut down Wyoming power plants and cause great risk to our nation’s energy security and grid reliability. This would cripple our ability to provide affordable, reliable baseload energy to power our nation. I am proud to stand with Senator Wicker and my EPW colleagues to work to block this rule.”

“This rule undermines states’ good-faith efforts to reduce emissions and comply with EPA regulations,” Crapo said. “American consumers pay the price when the federal government continues to overstep in an already overregulated energy market.” 

The rule, which falls under provisions of the Clean Air Act, would impact 23 states, including Mississippi. It would require new, more stringent regulations related to nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from stationary sources. To achieve lower emission rates, the rule would establish an ozone trading season for fossil fuel plants in 22 states and establish emission limits on certain industrial sources.

Prior to the issuance of the rule, states worked with EPA to submit an approvable SIP for the 2015 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).  Earlier this year, the EPA disapproved SIPs for 19 states, including Mississippi, at one time. The other states whose SIPs were disapproved include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.  Many of those states are either suing or considering litigation against EPA as they believe this is a violation of the Clean Air Act’s “cooperative federalism” structure.

Wicker has been a longtime proponent of overturning this rule. In March 2023, he participated in a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing to discuss the claims that Mississippi negatively impacts air quality in Texas. In the hearing, Chris Wells, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), noted that Mississippi had been unfairly treated under the Clean Air Act.

U.S. Representative Michael Burgess, R-Texas, is leading a similar effort in the House of Representatives.

Congress can consider these resolutions using expedited procedures under the Congressional Review Act and can pass it by a simple majority vote.

The full text of the resolution can be found here.