U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today introduced a bill, S. 2300, to give states -- including Kansas -- adequate time to comply with emissions reduction standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced identical companion legislation, H.R. 4387, today in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Under the current timeline, CSAPR will force utility providers to choose between either providing adequate power and facing criminal penalties or cutting power and running afoul of reliability laws because states and utilities were only given approximately 180 days to comply with the new emissions standards. S. 2300 will give states and utilities until January 1, 2017 to comply with CSAPR -- sufficient time to comply with the new standards.
"Under CSAPR, several states like Kansas were given inadequate time to comply with the new emissions standards. Rather than a compliance schedule of 5 years, like other states, they were only given several months," Sen. Moran said. "Kansas utilities were already reducing their emissions voluntarily and have agreed to reduce them further -- they just need more time to make the appropriate changes. This legislation will support their efforts to reduce emissions, while also preventing a significant disruption of service for millions of consumers."
"I am pleased to join Senator Moran in co-sponsoring legislation to provide states, like Kansas, a reasonable timeframe to comply with a new, costly EPA regulation," Sen. Roberts said. "Not one of the utilities I have spoken with regarding the Cross State Air Pollution Rule are opposed to reducing hazardous emissions. They just need a reasonable timeframe to do so, which the original six month window is not."
"EPA's CSAPR has been a disaster from the start, and I am proud to have voted for legislation that would have halted the entire rule," Congressman Pompeo said. "Kansas and other states were especially impacted by their last-minute inclusion in CSAPR. Because Kansas started behind the eight ball, it has been virtually impossible for the utilities in our state to comply in time. Political parties can have legitimate policy disagreements on how to best protect the environment, but I cannot sit back and watch while Kansas is forced to play on an uneven playing field when complying with EPA regulations. Kansans and all Americans deserve reliable and affordable domestic energy, not soaring energy prices and threats of blackouts."
"I believe this legislation represents a common sense approach that has been lacking with many of the federal regulations issued in recent months," said Mayor Joe Reardon of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas. "I am pleased that our Congressional delegation shares our concerns about the shortened implementation time-line of this rule and the harmful economic impacts it could have on communities across Kansas. While we are willing to help pay for the cost of a cleaner environment, our citizens and businesses cannot be expected to quickly fund the tremendous cost of compliance of this rule through dramatically higher utility rates that are simply unsustainable."
"The profound impact of EPA's CSAPR rule reaches broadly across all of Kansas, touching the electric customers of municipal, rural cooperative and investor-owned utilities alike," said Executive Director Colin Hansen of Kansas Municipal Utilities. "Kansas Municipal Utilities is very concerned that the timeline of this new requirement placed on Kansas generators is completely unrealistic and could easily drive large electric rate increases while putting the state's electric reliability at risk. Kansas utilities are simply seeking fairness in the application of these cross-state rules, and should be provided the same amount of time to comply as their utility colleagues in other affected states. The timeline for compliance dictated in the rule, as it stands, is simply infeasible."
On July 6, 2011, the EPA finalized a rule known as CSAPR, which requires states to improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions. A December 2008 court decision kept the requirements of the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) in place temporarily but directed EPA to issue a new rule to implement Clean Air Act requirements concerning the transport of air pollution across state boundaries. CSAPR replaces EPA's 2005 CAIR.