Daines Introduces Bill to Roll Back EPA Regs

“A War on Coal is a War on the Crow People”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today joined a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce legislation that ensures Montanans have access to affordable energy and protects good-paying coal jobs.

Daines is an original cosponsor of The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA), which holds the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accountable and protects states’ rights by requiring the EPA to demonstrate how their proposed regulations could impact each state.

This legislation preempts the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, set to be released this summer, which could shutter Montana’s coal-fired power plants and hinder tribes’ and the state’s ability to develop their coal resources.

“The Obama administration’s war on American energy is a war on American families and a war on American jobs,” Daines stated. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will protect good-paying union jobs, our tribes’ ability to develop their energy resources and Montana families’ access to affordable and reliable energy from the EPA’s misguided, one-size-fits-none regulations.”

Daines has long worked to ensure that Montanans are protected from overreaching federal energy regulations. Daines recently 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.

The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA):

  • Prevents mandates for unproven technology: Before EPA can set a technology-based standard for new power plants, the standard must first be achieved for at least one year at several separate power facilities throughout the country. The bill also prevents the EPA from using any demonstration projects –projects that are reliant on federal support – from being used to set the standard.
  • Extends compliance dates: The bill would extend the rule’s compliance dates pending final judicial review, including the dates for submission of state plans.
  • Holds EPA accountable: This bill would require EPA to issue state-specific model plans demonstrating how each state could meet the required GHG emissions reductions under the rule.
  • Enables states to protect ratepayers: The bill would provide that no state shall be required to implement a state or federal plan that the state’s governor determines would negatively impact economic growth, negatively impact the reliability of the electricity system or negatively impact electricity ratepayers.
  • Protects highway fund dollars: The bill would prevent the EPA from withholding highway funds from any states for noncompliance with the “Clean Power Plan.”

The bill is sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va) and cosponsored by a bipartisan group of senators, including: Daines, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).