Nebraska Senators Challenge EPA Rules

Nebraska's two senators say EPA polices are hurting rural America and they're asking for a chance to state that case.

Senators Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer have sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting a listening session in Nebraska on proposed carbon regulations. The Nebraska GOP lawmakers say the regulations would impact Nebraska businesses, agriculture operations and families.

Johanns said, “We all want a cleaner environment, but this Administration is blind to the economic consequences their anti-coal agenda is having on rural America.

"These regulations will drive up costs for every Nebraska farmer and rancher, business owner and manufacturer, and family each time they turn on the lights. I’ve told EPA about the economic hardships they are causing. It’s time they hear it straight from Nebraskans.”

“The Administration’s war on coal will hurt all Nebraska families," Senator Fischer said. "These proposed rules disproportionately penalize states like Nebraska, where coal is a vital energy source.

"As EPA embarks on a ‘listening tour’ to solicit input from the public, it only makes sense that the agency actually visit the areas that will be hit hardest by its policies. Nebraskans deserve a fair opportunity to be heard on the impacts of regulations that will increase costs and jeopardize our access to affordable, reliable electricity.”

A copy of the letter, signed by Johanns and Fischer, follows:

November 6, 2013

The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

On October 31st, we signed a letter asking the EPA to broaden the scope of its carbon listening tour to include regions of the United States that use and produce coal, the principal targets of EPA’s regulatory efforts regarding greenhouse gas emissions of existing plants. We write separately today to ask specifically that the agency appear in Nebraska and seek the input of our state’s residents.

Our request is made in part because we believe that EPA’s current schedule is inappropriately dominated by large cities in coastal states. While we certainly respect the views of residents of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Atlanta, few would argue that views of those likely to attend reflect comprehensively the views of Nebraskans. The four remaining locations in Lenaxa, Dallas, Chicago, and Denver, while closer, are by no means rural, nor likely to capture our State’s values and perspective.

Nebraska generates almost 70 percent of its electricity from coal and is an important transportation hub for coal shipments throughout the country. In addition, because we are 100 percent public power, all rate increases, capital improvements, and electricity imports are financed by ratepayers alone.

We therefore urge you to consider scheduling additional meetings within our state, and specifically request that you include the selection of a rural location to gather local input in areas far from metropolitan centers.

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