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Rounds Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Provide Affordable, Reliable Energy to South Dakotans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing legislation that will be the principal legislative vehicle in the Senate to rollback President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan.” 

“As proposed, EPA’s Clean Power Plan would result in higher electricity rates, fewer jobs and uncertainty surrounding the reliability of the electric grid - with little environmental benefit, said Rounds. “It threatens the livelihood of South Dakota’s only coal-fired plant at Big Stone, which is already in the middle of a $400 million compliance upgrade. Our legislation would give states much-needed flexibility and additional time to comply with this proposal and protect taxpayers from paying the burden through higher electric bills.”

A bipartisan group of six senators, led by Sen. Shelly Moore-Capito (R-W. Va.) joined Rounds at a press conference this afternoon to unveil The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA), which will provide reliable and affordable energy, put jobs and our economy first and curb federal overreach. 

Key provisions of the ARENA Act: 

  • Prevents mandates for unproven technology: Before EPA can set a technology-based standard for new power plants, the standard must first be achieved for at least one year at several separate power facilities throughout the country. The bill also prevents the EPA from using any demonstration projects –projects that are reliant on federal support – from being used to set the standard. 
  • Extends compliance dates: The bill would extend the rule’s compliance dates pending final judicial review, including the dates for submission of state plans. 
  • Holds EPA accountable: This bill would require EPA to issue state-specific model plans demonstrating how each state could meet the required GHG emissions reductions under the rule. 
  • Enables states to protect ratepayers: The bill would provide that no state shall be required to implement a state or federal plan that the state’s governor determines would negatively impact economic growth, negatively impact the reliability of the electricity system or negatively impact electricity ratepayers. 
  • Protects highway fund dollars: The bill would prevent the EPA from withholding highway funds from any states for noncompliance with the “Clean Power Plan.”

The ARENA Act, which takes into account EPA’s proposed regulations for both new and existing power plants, also requires EPA to submit to Congress a report describing the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions the “Clean Power Plan” is expected to reduce, and to conduct modeling to show the impacts of the rule on the climate indicators used to develop the rule. 

Click here to learn more about the ARENA Act and view the bill here.