Nebraska’s United States Senators have written the Environmental Protection Agency, asking the agency to hold a listening session in Nebraska on how proposed carbon regulations would impact electricity costs.
“The EPA just doesn’t stop ceasing to amaze me,” Sen. Mike Johanns replies when asked about his latest battle with the EPA.
Johanns has been joined Sen. Deb Fischer in writing EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
“On October 31st, we signed a letter asking the EPA to broaden the scope of its carbon listening tour to include regions of the United States that use and produce coal, the principal targets of EPA’s regulatory efforts regarding greenhouse gas emissions of existing plants. We write separately today to ask specifically that the agency appear in Nebraska and seek the input of our state’s residents,” the senators wrote in their letter to McCarthy.
The EPA has scheduled hearings in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Atlanta as well as in Lenaxa, Dallas, Chicago, and Denver.
Johanns points out no listening session is being held in the Midwest, the region of the country that relies most heavily on coal.
“They are holding these hearings in some of the most pro-EPA states in the United States,” Johanns states.
Johanns doesn’t believe the lack of hearings in the Midwest is an oversight. He believes it is intentional, part of the EPA’s war on coal. He says the Obama Administration is blind to the economic consequences its anti-coal agenda would have on Nebraska and other Midwestern states. Johanns adds the administration refuses to consider clean-coal technology.
Nebraska relies on coal to produce 70% of its electricity.
Johanns says if the EPA adopts the proposed carbon emission rules and refuses to consider clean-coal technology, Nebraska will suffer.
“You’re just going to get higher rates. It is just guaranteed. That’s going to be the result and that’s exactly where they are headed. And it’s very, very difficult. You can’t retrofit a power plant overnight.”
Johanns says that while he would like the EPA to hold a hearing in Nebraska, he would settle for a hearing in the Midwest.
A copy of the letter is below:
November 6, 2013
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
On October 31st, we signed a letter asking the EPA to broaden the scope of its carbon listening tour to include regions of the United States that use and produce coal, the principal targets of EPA’s regulatory efforts regarding greenhouse gas emissions of existing plants. We write separately today to ask specifically that the agency appear in Nebraska and seek the input of our state’s residents.
Our request is made in part because we believe that EPA’s current schedule is inappropriately dominated by large cities in coastal states. While we certainly respect the views of residents of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Atlanta, few would argue that views of those likely to attend reflect comprehensively the views of Nebraskans. The four remaining locations in Lenaxa, Dallas, Chicago, and Denver, while closer, are by no means rural, nor likely to capture our State’s values and perspective.
Nebraska generates almost 70 percent of its electricity from coal and is an important transportation hub for coal shipments throughout the country. In addition, because we are 100 percent public power, all rate increases, capital improvements, and electricity imports are financed by ratepayers alone.
We therefore urge you to consider scheduling additional meetings within our state, and specifically request that you include the selection of a rural location to gather local input in areas far from metropolitan centers.
U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns
U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]