Kansas House delegation voices concerns with EPA regulation05/11/12
Kansas House delegation voices concerns with EPA regulation
CSAPR ruling will raise rates on Kansas customers
Washington, D.C. – Representative Kevin Yoder was joined by all three of his fellow Kansas House delegation members in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting that Kansas be allowed additional time to comply with the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The letter submitted to Administrator Jackson is in addition to legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo of Wichita (H.R. 4387), along with companion legislation introduced by Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts (S. 2300). The letter language is included below.
States originally included in the rule were given more than four years to prepare and to make necessary changes to their power plants in order to comply with the new clean air requirements. However, Kansas was included only when the CSAPR rule was finalized in July 2011. This means that Kansas-based utilities have had less than one year to comply.
The Kansas House delegation is concerned that Kansas utilities will have to increase rates on Kansas customers in order to comply with the recently imposed environmental regulations. The penalty for not complying will result in significant fines from the EPA – which, consequently, would ultimately result in higher rates as well.
“Burdensome regulations such as this will result in utility fee increases for customers across our state. High gas prices and the a high unemployment rate are enough signs already that our economy is still hurting,” Rep. Kevin Yoder stated. “We want our air to be clean, but we ask the EPA and Administrator Jackson to allow Kansas the same amount of time to comply with these rules as other states.”
“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.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,” stated Congressman Pompeo.
“Each week when I return home to Kansas, business owners and hardworking Kansans tell me that high energy prices and an alphabet soup of overbearing federal regulators are making it harder to hire and do business,” stated Congresswoman Jenkins.“The CSAPR regulation and its unrealistic time frame is just the latest example of the EPA unfairly overreaching and negatively impacting Kansas. Clean air standards are important, but in this fragile economy arbitrary timeframes shouldn’t come at the expense of jobs and energy prices.”
“At a time when our energy sector is already under assault from the EPA, the last thing we need is more regulations that increase energy costs for already overburdened Kansans," Congressman Tim Huelskamp said. “President Obama and Administrator Jackson must realize that their flood of regulations flowing from Washington jeopardizes not only the Kansas' economy, but the entire nation’s ability to recover.”
The Honorable Lisa P. Jackson
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
Dear Administrator Jackson,
We appreciate the opportunity to address the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) which will be impacting many states and utility companies in the near future. We agree that all Americans deserve the comfort of knowing the air that they breathe is clean and free of harmful pollutants. However, we believe that we also need to balance the impact certain regulations would have on our economy. On behalf of the entire Kansas delegation, we respectfully request an explanation for the inclusion of Kansas and Kansas power generation utilities in the CSAPR.
It is our understanding that the utilities based in the states originally included in the initial rule have had over four years to make the necessary changes to their power plants in order to comply with these new clean air requirements. Kansas-based utilities have had less than one year, and we are concerned that this decision has placed an unfair burden on our utilities and ultimately ratepayers in Kansas.
With CSAPR as currently written, Kansas utilities will have to increase rates to either comply with necessary environmental upgrades or pay for the fines that will be imposed upon them when they exceed the minimum allotted discharge levels. Of particular concern is the uncertainty regarding the use of energy credits, specifically: how many credits will be available in Kansas, and how much will they cost?
Given that Kansas-based utilities have only had several months to begin upgrades (compared to the years provided to other states covered by the rule), many of our utilities have expressed concern that they will not be able to meet the standards as written, and they are already planning to budget for fines (resulting in rate increases) or allow rolling blackouts to occur.
Kansas citizens are already facing an increase in gasoline prices. To place another financial burden on a fragile economic recovery gives us great concern. It is our hope that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will give strong consideration to the financial impacts CSAPR will have on the citizens of our state.
While the Clean Air Act has significantly improved America’s air quality, we remain skeptical about any benefits that may come from CSAPR. The evidence used to defend the rule is based on anticipated cost savings related to health issues. What is not discussed or even considered by EPA is the tremendous cost that this rule will impose on average citizens.
Very simply put, we believe at a minimum it is appropriate for Kansas-based utilities to be afforded the same time allotments other states received to comply with CSAPR. They cannot make the required changes to their power plants without incurring a substantial cost, which will ultimately be passed along to the ratepayer. We respectfully request that Kansas either be removed from the CSAPR requirements altogether or be given the same four-year time frame afforded to the states originally included in CSAPR.
We greatly appreciate your willingness to hear our concerns and the concerns of our Kansas constituents. We encourage the EPA to work alongside states to find the most economically responsible way possible to implement future rules and regulations. I am sure you would agree, a healthy economy is critically important to a healthy environment.
Kevin Yoder (KS-3) Lynn Jenkins (KS-2)
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Mike Pompeo (KS-4) Tim Huelskamp (KS-1)
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Cc: The Honorable Karl Brooks, Administrator, EPA Region VII