US Senator John Thune’s weekly column: The Obama EPA Strikes Again

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressThe Obama EPA Strikes Again
By Senator John Thune

If there is one thing for which the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be counted on, it is the repeated issuance of rules and regulations that stifle growth and make life harder and more costly for American families and businesses. The agency, stocked with a seemingly endless amount of red tape, lived up to its reputation earlier this month when it approved the final rule of the so-called “Clean Power Plan,” which could be more accurately described as a backdoor national energy tax.

This national energy tax is unwelcome news for South Dakota consumers because it will hurt jobs, cause costs to skyrocket, and threaten our grid reliability. South Dakota is an energy-intense state – we have cold winters and hot summers. As a result, South Dakota families spend a high share of their income on energy costs. While consumers across the state are likely to feel the pain from this burdensome new regulation, it is low-income families and seniors living on fixed incomes who will be hit the hardest. Many families are already finding it difficult to make ends meet. Higher energy costs – and the resulting costs that will be added to existing products and services – will only make that struggle more problematic.

The EPA’s rule will require a 32 percent across-the-board reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Such a dramatic rate reduction will target the heart of America’s affordable and reliable coal generation. South Dakota’s state reduction target is 47 percent, which is one of the highest in the country and far exceeds the national average.

For the Big Stone Plant, which is South Dakota’s only major coal-fired electric generating unit and nearing completion of a $384 million environmental upgrade, the dust has yet to settle on existing regulations that the EPA has piled on it, including Regional Haze and Utility MACT. Despite the Big Stone Plant soon becoming one of the cleanest plants in the country, the EPA’s latest set of rules will threaten the plant’s multi-million dollar investment. In order to recoup this investment, it may be forced to pass its costs onto ratepayers.

In January, I wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling on the agency to think twice about the impact their D.C.-based rule-making process would have on South Dakotans halfway across the country. I urged Administrator McCarthy to abandon these rules, or at the very least, reconsider South Dakota’s emission reduction target to more accurately reflect our existing energy portfolio and the investments utility companies and ratepayers have already made in efficiency upgrades. Not only did the EPA move forward with these rules anyway, but South Dakota’s emission reduction target actually increased in the final rule.

I have said it before: Rule-makers in Washington’s concrete jungle, whether intentionally or unintentionally, force one-size-fits-all rules that oftentimes have a devastating impact on agriculture producers, homeowners, and small businesses across the country. With its national energy tax, the Obama EPA has struck again. I will continue to do all I can to see that this ill-conceived rule is reversed.

6 thoughts on “US Senator John Thune’s weekly column: The Obama EPA Strikes Again”

  1. John, you are such an ingenuous fellow. You know that drastic action must be taken to protect the future of every living thing on the earth. If you don’t know this, you need to just do some basic reading.

    My guess is, however, that you’re just throwing some love to your corporate owners and some scraps to the low-intelligence person who votes for you and supports you.

    You’re on the job for your corporate owners and America has never had a weaker and more ineffective Congress. Congratulations.

    Your version of American Exceptionalism is “We can’t.”

  2. Burning coal kills fish and pheasants. Natural gas produces only half the carbon pollutants as coal.

  3. If we could somehow harness the wind generated by Thune and Rounds everytime they speak on the Senate floor, our energy ‘problems’ would be solved!

  4. Well, it seems that the Obama-ites are in full swing above. We can impose all the hardships and taxes etc on Americans, but until the rest of the world believes that climate change is the extreme danger that Obama-ites do, it will have less than 1% change in carbon emissions. But Obama promised that electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, and this is one promise he seems to want to keep. The world’s climate has been changing since the world was created, and it seems that the good ole mother earth has managed to keep itself going nonetheless. A more wise policy would be to work alongside fossil fuels to find other energy sources, not completely gut one in the hope that the others will work out eventually. But this approach would not be in Obama’s world view of weakening the US and punishing the US for being the most exceptional nation on earth. I don’t think Obama can help himself; he was indoctrinated with this view throughout his life, and he just being a good little socialist. I just hope the American people wake up enough to get someone in office next time who will repeal all these ridiculous over-reaches of executive powers. But, just maybe a new president will learn from what Obama has done and start issuing his own executive orders and bypassing Congress, and just listen to the howling to come in that case from the Obama-ites above.

  5. I agree with Springer and what he says. I agree with what Newt Gingrich said four years ago, that the EPA needs to be abolished and replaced. That is the only way you can clean out all of the “anti-Growth zealots”.

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