U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton today helped introduce the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA), bipartisan legislation to ensure reliable and affordable energy, curb federal overreach and make job protection, creation and economy a priority.
"The Obama climate plan is all pain and no gain. It raises costs and destroys jobs, but it doesn't truly impact the global climate. That's according to the EPA's own estimates. This bipartisan bill will protect families from higher energy bills, prevent electricity blackouts and ensure that possible EPA mandates are based on a realistic review of the available technology. It will also protect states that exercise their ability under the law to say "no" when the EPA pressures them to impose state-level mandates. I urge support for these commonsense reforms," Boozman said.
"The EPA's proposed greenhouse gas rules would have a direct and devastating impact in Arkansas and across the country. This bill pushes back against these new standards and it provides states with the flexibility to opt out of these standards if their rates are projected to increase under them. It also rightly requires the EPA to recognize the important differences between our many energy sources, ensuring Arkansas's lignite coal and our coal-fired power plants aren't unfairly penalized. I will continue to work with my colleagues to fight back against President Obama's EPA and to ensure Arkansans continue to have access to affordable, low-cost energy sources," Cotton said.
The EPA carbon emissions mandates target Arkansas for cuts stricter than 44 other states. Arkansas has five coal power plants, including some of the newest and most modern facilities in the country. These coal plants provide more than half of our state's electricity. Our utilities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make these plants some of cleanest coal plants in the world, but these EPA mandates drive up the costs even further.
Key provisions of the bill include:
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 greenhouse gas 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.
ARENA, which takes into account EPA's proposed regulations for both new and existing power plants, also requires EPA to submit to Congress a report describing the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions the Clean Power Plan is expected to reduce, and to conduct modeling to show the impacts of the rule on the climate indicators used to develop the rule.
The lead author of this legislation is Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Along with Boozman and Cotton, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dan Coats (R-IN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), David Perdue (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Thune (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).