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Your Power Bill Could Be Affected by Federal Government Ruling

Chris Davis

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Every power plant in Mississippi that uses coal to generate power could be forced to shut down under new rules by the Environmental Protection Agency, said Sen. Roger Wicker in Washington in a Senate hearing Wednesday. If that did happen, that would, of course, translate into changes in your power bill that Wicker believes could make your electricity unaffordable.

Wicker said in his statements that Mississippi does not have the resources to meet the EPA’s new requirements that states increase by 250 percent the amount of renewable energy they use in generating power.

Here is an excerpt from his testimony:

Some of my friends on the other side continue to speak of carbon pollution, which suggests to some people that they are talking about particulate emissions. Of course we know that what is being talked about with this proposed rule is carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. These regulations regarding CO2 could negatively impact every single American.

“The President is determined to wage an all-out war on coal – launching costly regulations that would have little effect on changing the climate.  Over the past 10 years, global coal consumption has soared by 65 percent.  During the same time period, U.S. coal exports have skyrocketed by more than 200 percent. Coal is burned to provide 40 percent of the world’s electricity needs in a reliable and economical way.

“Although coal consumption has soared, global average temperatures have stagnated over the past 17 years.  This is a fact worth repeating.  There has been no rise in global average temperatures over the past 17 years.

“Regardless, the Administration continues to defend its heavy-handed climate regulations with assertions that global average temperatures are on the rise.

“The regulation that we are here to discuss today is EPA’s most blatant overreach thus far.  Under the guise of the Clean Air Act, the agency has proposed to mandate entities that are far outside its regulatory authority.  The rule does not simply attempt to reduce emissions from existing plants.  For the first time, EPA has gone beyond power plants with a regulation that reaches up to and including the power meter.

“EPA is relying on the talking point that its proposed rule is flexible and allows states to create their own plans.  I know that this will be mentioned today.  But this is fiction when it comes to many states.

“The rule is a regulatory noose for electricity providers and users in my state of Mississippi.  In fact, states like Mississippi are being punished by EPA for having a diversified portfolio of electrical generation.  One-hundred percent of Mississippi’s current coal production will be forced to close down under this rule.

“In place of coal, EPA suggests an increase in the use of renewable energy resources – an increase of more than 250 percent.  Yet EPA’s own technical support documents show zero potential for this type of renewable energy resource in Mississippi.  What good is flexibility if there is no chance of flexibility?”

Sen. Thad Cochran also has issues with the EPA from the agricultural side. Earlier this week he met with members of the Senate Ag Committee and Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator to express his concerns that the EPA’s “waters of the Unites States” (WOTUS) rule, which would mean that the federal government could claim control over more water, including a pond or lake on your land.

Cochran said that could affect agriculture in Mississippi.

“The waters of the United States proposal and the agriculture interpretive rule are a source of uncertainty, anxiety and distrust for people in rural areas.  This is particularly true for states like Mississippi whose economies are built on agriculture production and where landowners want the peace of mind that what they are doing is not subject to ever more regulations,” said Cochran, who has sponsored legislative measures to stop or withdraw the WOTUS proposal.

“I appreciate Administrator McCarthy agreeing to hear our concerns, and I hope the concerns we shared on behalf of our constituents will prompt the EPA to engage with agriculture organizations and to abandon or at least rethink some of the regulations it wants to impose,” he said.

Both Cochran and Wicker, Republicans, said they believe the EPA is claiming power it should not have and the new rules are serious over reach from the federal government.

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