WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today slammed Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy for pushing forward new EPA carbon regulations without fully consulting affected states and tribes or addressing the plan’s detrimental impacts on coal production and jobs in Montana.
During today’s Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Daines emphasized Montanans’ concerns that the EPA’s proposed “Clean Power Plan” could shutter the state’s coal-fired power plants and hinder Montana tribes’ and the state’s abilities to develop their coal resources.
Daines also pressed McCarthy on the EPA’s failure to take into account how allowing State Implementation Plans under the Clean Power Plan could devastate Montana’s coal industry.
“Allowing states to submit their own implementation plans does nothing to fix the issue that Montana and the Crow Nation will lose, because 90 percent of their customer base is outside of Montana,” Daines stated. “There is not another path right now for good paying jobs on the Crow Reservation without these coal jobs.”
Daines noted that the closest listening session on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan was in Denver, Colorado – about 500 miles from Crow Agency, where the Crow Tribe relies on coal production for good-paying jobs.
Just last month, Daines held the first energy and jobs Indian Affairs field hearing on the Crow Reservation on the importance of coal to tribes’ economies. At the hearing, leaders from the Crow and Navajo Nations both expressed frustration with the EPA’s failure to engage in meaningful tribal consultation while developing greenhouse gas rules for existing power plants, which could severely devastate tribes’ economies.
McCarthy admitted that she had not reviewed the testimony from the hearing. Daines pressed her to prioritize a full review of the testimony presented at the hearing, which McCarthy committed to personally doing.
“I strongly urge Administrator McCarthy to uphold her commitment to hear from Montanans and review the testimony from last month’s field hearing,” Daines stated following today’s hearing. “It is critical that the EPA hear directly from Montanans about the impact of these regulations on Montana coal production, jobs and energy prices. I will keep pressure on the EPA and work to ensure that Montanans’ voices are heard loud and clear.”