Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today issued the following statement after the Senate rejected his amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2014 that addresses an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule known as the Mercury and Air Toxins Standard or MATS rule:
"I am disappointed the Senate failed to pass this bipartisan amendment to clarify that utilities working in good faith to comply with the EPA's rule would be allowed the time needed to finish their upgrades," said Coats. "Failing to provide this flexibility could threaten American jobs, hike utility rates and jeopardize the stability of the electric grid. When it comes to cleaning our air, we need a balanced approach that protects American workers and consumers from job losses and increased energy costs."
The EPA's compliance deadline for its MATS rule is April 2015, with a one year extension available from state authorities. Utility plants across the country already have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with this rule. However, some plants may not be able to complete upgrades in time, as the necessary technology and workforce needed to reach compliance is limited.
A presidential exemption already exists in the Clean Air Act if technology is not available and a unit is critical to the grid. The Coats amendment, cosponsored by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), would have clarified that this exemption exists for plants unable to complete the necessary measures to comply with MATS by 2016.
The amendment failed the Senate 46-53.