U.S. Senator John Boozman today voted to reject the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to stop American coal development and drive up the costs of electricity for Arkansans.
"We are a coal-fired state, which means this misguided regulation would cause the price of electricity in Arkansas to skyrocket. Think about what that will do to the cost of living for hardworking Arkansans, especially single mothers and seniors living on fixed incomes. Clean air protection is very important, but it is a mistake to think this is the proper way to address the problem," Boozman said.
In its Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Utility MACT) rule, the EPA seeks to impose further rules on power plant emissions, which have already been significantly reduced in recent decades. It will have a devastating effect on states like Arkansas, which receives 45 percent of its power from coal. Therefore, Arkansas would be heavily impacted. The Senate today voted on a resolution of disapproval regarding the regulation, which will also lead to massive job losses across the country.
"There are already 12.7 million Americans out of work. With this deceptive and excessive rule, the EPA will add hundreds of thousands more to the unemployment roll," Boozman said. "We will see very few, if any, environmental benefits from this rule. What we will see as a result are fewer jobs, higher energy and food prices, and the closure of more American manufacturing facilities."
Earlier this week, Boozman joined Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) in a letter to President Barack Obama that raises questions about the health benefits the EPA claims this regulation will create [Read the letter in the attachment below]. The four Senators, who are also doctors, pointed out that that the regulation yields little in terms of public health benefits and its contribution to a jobless economy will have much larger impact on public health.
"The EPA should immediately stop pushing expensive regulations that put Americans out of work and into the doctor's office. We respectfully ask that your agencies adequately examine the negative health implications of unemployment into the cost/benefit analysis of the numerous regulations that are stifling job growth, before making health benefit claims to Congress and the public," they wrote in closing the letter.
Though S.J.Res.37, a resolution of disapproval regarding the EPA's Mercury Air and Toxics Standards, was not agreed upon by the Senate, Boozman said the fight is far from over.
"Arkansans understand the regulations the Obama administration continues to put forth are burdensome, intrusive and counterproductive. They recognize this Administration, like no other in recent years, has misused the regulatory process and they are calling on us on to put an end to these regulatory abuses. I intend to continue that fight," Boozman said.
Boozman said it is important to stop the regulation because American families will foot the $11 billion implementation price tag the EPA predicts this will force up to 20 percent of America's coal-fired power capacity to shut down.
Although EPA claims the rule is designed to reduce mercury emissions, according to the agency's own analysis, more than 98% of the alleged benefits from these regulations have nothing to do with reduced air toxics. Instead, EPA uses false assumptions to inflate the secondary benefits, or "co-benefits," it say will just happen to occur as a result of the rule. Specifically, the EPA makes the false assumption that there is no decrease in the marginal benefits as the levels of emissions fall far below levels that are scientifically recognized as safe.