Daines Works To Expand Markets for Montana Energy

Senator Steve Daines today worked to break down some of the regulatory barriers facing Montana energy producers and expand markets for made in Montana energy.

During today’s Energy and Natural Resources hearing, Daines sought to ensure that Montana coal isn’t hindered by duplicative regulations that could increase energy prices and negatively impact the thousands of jobs and more than one hundred million dollars in tax revenue each year that coal provides.

Daines: “Can you provide some examples of federal actions where the public would have been better served if federal agencies deliberated the impact to grid reliability in meaningful fashion prior to issuing regulations?”

Duane Highley, President and CEO of Electric Cooperative Association: Bulk-Power System Reliability Act:“The electric grid is the most complex machine yet created by man, it didn’t get created overnight and it took decades and decades to get built to the level it is. Every device on the grid has to operate in exact synchronism with every other device, and changes to that should not be made lightly.

“It’s possible for a well-meaning regulatory body to come up with something that sounds like a great idea but that jeopardizes reliability and integrity of the grid so that’s the reason for asking for this expert level review prior to issuing the regulations.

“One that comes to mind currently, is the Clean Power Plan, and the impacts that could occur with the rapid loss of generation in 2020. Based on some of the time lines in the proposed rule, and when we see a final rule — if those time lines are still there, we are gravely concerned about reliability impacts.”

Daines: “Do you think it’s important that American coal—developed in a more environmentally sound fashion and cleaner than other types of coal are ready to meet international demands for energy?”

Mark Mills, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute: “The answer is yes, it is critically important. The world has nearly a billion people who don’t have access to electricity, and they want cheap electricity. There are many ways to make electricity but the cheapest way globally on average is using burning coal. In fact, something on the order of 75 percent of the net increase in electricity supplied in the last two decades has come from coal, and it will continue to come from coal according to every forecast, the majority of the supply to the world for new electricity. The United States has an opportunity to participate in that market both for economic benefit but as you say, I think very correctly, since the world will use coal and will use more of it, we can provide it in the most environmentally benign and safe fashion and benefit ourselves and our allies and friends around the world.