Resolution Concerning U.S. EPA Proposed Greenhouse Gas Regulations for Existing Fossil-Fueled Power Plants

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WHEREAS, states believe that electricity affects all aspects of American life and is indispensable for quality of life, economic growth, and the sustainability of modern society; and

WHEREAS, electricity will only become more important in the future as the demand for electricity continues to increase; and

WHEREAS, President Obama issued a June 25, 2013 memorandum directing the U.S. (EPA) to issue proposed carbon pollution standards, regulations or guidelines, as appropriate, for modified, reconstructed and existing power plants by no later than June 1, 2014 and to issue final standards, regulations or guidelines, as appropriate, by June 1, 2015; and

WHEREAS, the United States Constitution calls for the federal government to respect and preserve state sovereignty; and

WHEREAS, the regulation of retail electricity sales and local distribution is a sovereign state function and each state has the responsibility to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of electricity for their citizens; and

WHEREAS, economic output of states has increased while states have managed electricity generation, distribution and transmission to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions according to the U.S. EPA using multiple methodologies; and

WHEREAS, the president directed the U.S. EPA to engage the states recognizing, “they will play a central role in establishing and implementing standards for existing power plants;” and

WHEREAS, at the invitation of U.S. EPA, elected legislative bodies and individual elected officials, policymakers, and stakeholders provided input to the U.S. EPA recommending U.S. EPA only provide guidelines on achievable carbon dioxide emission reduction measures states could take at affected coal-fired electric generating units and giving states credit for all previous actions to reduce their emissions so states could make decisions on additional generation and end-use efficiency measures if necessary as provided by  the Clean Air Act Section 111d and its 40 CFR 60 implementing regulations; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. EPA published proposed emission reduction regulations for existing fossil-fueled power plants in June 2014 requiring state-specific plans to further reduce emissions that the U.S. EPA acknowledges will cause significant and rapid changes in states’ energy mixes including  almost 50 gigawatts of retirements of baseload coal generation between 2016 and 2020 in addition to the 71 gigawatts retired between 2010 and 2020, increases in the price of electricity and significant numbers of jobs to be lost with less than 24-month timeline for states to comply by 2020 after U.S. EPA approves state plans; and

WHEREAS, states likely will be challenged to implement real-world efficiency improvements at affected units and end uses by consumers, renewable and nuclear energy deployments, natural gas electricity capacity factors at levels determined by U.S. EPA and could be forced to retire additional units in order to comply with emission reduction goals and timeline U.S. EPA has set for them; and

WHEREAS, states simultaneously support reasonable environmental protection with assured energy security, production, distribution, efficiency and economic growth in the United States but they find that the U.S. EPA  plans would transform their electricity generation and delivery systems with risks to power 60 million homes,  their citizens, communities, businesses, and agriculture; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges the executive branch and Congress to establish a national energy policy that encourages access to and removal  of impediments to all available domestic sources of energy; and  

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages the U.S. EPA to recognize the sovereign power of state regulators to avoid costly litigation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments recommends state policymakers work closely with their environmental commissioners, informed by electricity providers and other stakeholders, this resolution and the states’ previous recommendations, to develop comments and where appropriate comments with other states addressing the legal, economic, employment, timing, achievability, affordability, implementation scheduling and reliability issues in the proposed regulations for their state and file them by U.S. EPA’s comment deadline and to stay engaged with U.S. EPA and other relevant federal agencies after the comment period ends and the regulation is finalized to eliminate or minimize the risks and consequences from U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,  that The Council of State Governments encourages states to inform their congressional delegations on their evaluations and comments and encourage these representatives to help resolve issues by reducing or eliminating negative consequences from U.S. EPA’s proposed regulation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments’ staff is encouraged to support  states with education initiatives for its members by webinars, meetings, written communications and other means; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution are to be transmitted to the president of the United States, U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Energy, National Governors Association, National Association of  Regulatory Utility Commissioners, National Association of State Energy Officials, Environmental Council of the States and other relevant organizations, and leadership in all states, and CSG staff are directed to work with the Congress, federal agencies and stakeholder coalitions to achieve the  goals of this resolution.

 

Adopted this 13th Day of August, 2014 at CSG’s 2014 National Conference in Anchorage, Alaska.