Sen. Daines: We Need Innovation, Not Regulation

The University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) just released a study that confirms what many of us feared – President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a job killer poised to be the “most significant economic event to occur in Montana in more than 30 years.”

The full impact of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency will be felt the hardest by those who can least afford it – Montana families and small business owners. Families will see a $500 million loss in annual income, and communities will go without $145 million per year in revenue that would be used to fund schools, pay teachers and fix roads.

Obama’s regulations specifically target Montana with the most stringent requirements of any state in the nation and will likely mean shutting down Colstrip Power Plant and the loss of over 7,000 good-paying jobs. Job loss and economic downturn is expected to lead to a population reduction of over 10,000 people.  

It’s ludicrous that the Treasure State, which currently exports more energy than we consume, may actually have to start importing electricity to comply with the President’s misguided standards.

I’ve joined bipartisan efforts in the Senate to block implementation of this plan and will continue working to stop extreme power grabs and stand up for Montana families. We need all of the elected leaders across the state to join me in fighting back against the EPA on all levels.

Ignoring this problem or forming another committee won’t make regulations go away – we need to take real action and stop this rule before it takes effect and devastates Montana’s economy.

The greatest impediment to our state’s economic future and American energy independence is out-of-touch, heavy handed regulations from Washington, D.C.

Another egregious example of how out-of-touch Washington is with Montanans is the EPA’s greatly expanded Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which gives the agency unprecedented power to regulate irrigated ditches, prairie potholes and other small bodies of water that may be temporary or seasonal.

Montana farmers, ranchers and landowners know that this overreach will devastate our agriculture and natural resource industries and has more to do with controlling land use decisions than ensuring access to clean water as the Clean Water Act already requires.

That’s why I’ve helped introduce two pieces of legislation to stop this senseless rule from moving forward.

The courts agree. Two federal courts have ruled against WOTUS and a nationwide stay on the misguided rule is currently enforced, demonstrating the questionable legal ground that it stands on. I’m proud of Attorney General Tim Fox for leading the fight on this critical issue in the courts and for standing up against this blatant overreach of federal power.

Montanans know best how to manage our lands and protect our state’s resources. We also understand the important role that our robust energy sector holds in supporting good-paying union and tribal jobs, providing critical tax revenue for our schools and keeping energy prices low for Montana families.

When Montanans’ voices are heard, we can move forward innovative solutions that promote energy independence, protect our farmers and ranchers, keep energy costs low and create more good-paying Montana jobs.

What we need is more innovation, not more regulations.

Steve Daines

U.S. Senator, Montana