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Coats and Manchin Introduce Bipartisan “Fair Compliance Act” to Protect American Jobs, Prevent Spikes in Energy Costs for Consumers

November 9, 2011
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11/10/11 Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.) introduced the bipartisan “Fair Compliance Act” today to create reasonable timelines and benchmarks for utilities to comply with two major Environmental Protection Agency to protect jobs and keep utility rates stable. The legislation would extend the compliance deadline for the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) by three years and the deadline for the Utility MACT rule by two years – so that both would fall on January 1, 2017.  

Additional cosponsors include Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). 

“I’ve always said government should be your partner, not your adversary – and that’s not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea, it’s a commonsense idea,” Senator Manchin said. “With millions of jobs on the line in this country – and especially in my state of West Virginia – it just makes sense to work to make sure we don’t lose any more jobs in putting these rules in place. I’m proud to bring together Republicans and Democrats on this commonsense solution to a real problem.”

“The current EPA rules and unreasonable deadlines will be devastating for Hoosiers and every ratepayer in America,” Coats said. “After visiting with Indiana utilities and power plants, it is clear that the current EPA timeline will result in more job loss and skyrocketing rates. While I support a complete overturn of these rules, this bill is a bipartisan commonsense solution that gives states and utilities the time needed to plan and prepare.”

The National Economic Research Associates (NERA) estimates net employment losses of 1.44 million across the country as a result of the current EPA rules and deadlines. By 2016, NERA estimates that American ratepayers will see an average increase of 11.5 percent.  In some regions of the United States, increases of up to 23.5 percent may occur. 

Background: 

The Utility MACT rule requires a decrease in mercury emissions at power plants. The CSAPR requires utilities to reduce power plant emissions that may cause air-quality complications in neighboring states.  

The Manchin-Coats bill would provide utilities with an extension of time and synchronize the implementation schedule for complying with the rules. The bill would extend the date of compliance for Utility MACT by two years and for CSAPR by three years changing the deadline for both rules to January 1, 2017.  Under the current EPA rules, the compliance date for Utility MACT is January 1, 2015. The deadline for Phase I of the CSAPR is January 1, 2012 and Phase II is January 1, 2014. The Manchin-Coats bill would postpone Phase I until January 1, 2015 and Phase II of CSAPR until January 1, 2017. The compliance date is the date by which a utility either must have installed emissions controls or retired the pant.

The bill also would require utilities to submit implementation plans to ensure compliance occurs. To safeguard the reliability of the electric grid and avoid brownouts, utilities would need to submit their implementation plans to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

Click here for a copy of the legislation.

Click here for a fact sheet with additional information.

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