Members of the delegation have fanned out across their districts, holding public meetings, listening posts, coffees; listening to their constituents on a number of issues during the recess. Congress returns to Washington next month.
U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse says the two biggest topics are the Iran nuclear deal and “overreach” by the EPA.
The EPA alarmed agricultural groups when it proposed an expansion of its authority under the Clean Water Act, the Waters of the United States rule. Sen. Deb Fischer even convened a Senate hearing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which primarily aired grievances about the WOTUS.
Now, concerns about the EPA have been renewed with its proposal to expand its authority under the Clean Air Act, with many state officials and politicians claiming a crackdown on carbon emissions will cripple the state economy by raising electric rates.
Sasse says the EPA came into existence for a good reason, but the agency now is over-reaching.
“And the EPA just continually exceeds their statutory authority,” Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We’ve seen that mostly with the Clean Water Act, but here in the Clean Air Act you’re seeing it again. And I’m glad to see the states getting together to push back against this federal overreach.”
Questions have also been raised about how difficult it will be for Nebraska to comply with the new rules, since all Nebraska utilities are publically owned.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry says the reduction of carbon emissions makes sense, the timing does not.
“The transition takes time,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network. “So, you don’t want to do something, a heavy-handed measure out of Washington, that penalizes a certain area of the country, but you want to have the incentives in place that naturally transitions us so there are not economic penalties.”
Fortenberry questions the effectiveness of the rule. He says it will make little difference what American power plants do if China continues to build coal-fired power plants with less stringent environmental rules.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]