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Senate Passes Blunt-Backed Effort to Block Obama Energy Price Hikes

November 17, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) voted in favor of two bipartisan, Senate-passed resolutions to block the Obama administration’s burdensome new regulations on American energy that will raise costs for Missouri families.

“The president’s so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ amounts to more overreach, more price hikes, and more onerous burdens on the families that can least afford them,” Blunt said. “Anyone who goes to the grocery store, flips a light switch, harvests a crop, or goes to the doctor will be hit by the Obama energy regulations. For low- and middle-income families, the double-digit rate hikes could force them to forgo other priorities, like groceries or medical care, just to pay their utility bills. Energy-intensive industries, like manufacturing and agriculture, will be particularly hard hit, making it more difficult for them to create new, good-paying jobs for American workers. 

“Today, the Senate voted to protect the American people by passing two bipartisan measures that would put a stop to the new rules. While the president continues pursuing his politically-driven, anti-energy agenda, we’re advancing solutions that put American families, and our economy, first.”

Blunt co-sponsored both measures passed by the Senate today. They include S.J. Res. 23, which targets the Environmental Protection Agency’s final regulation for new and modified power plants, and S.J. Res. 24, which would overturn the EPA’s final rule for existing power plants.

Background:

A new study by NERA Economic Consulting finds that the president’s plan will add up to $292 billion in compliance costs between 2022 and 2033. Over this same time period, Missouri could experience peak retail electricity rate hikes as high as 34 percent.

Blunt has been a vocal opponent of the Obama administration’s costly energy polices and over-regulation. As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Blunt ensured important provisions were successfully included in the committee-passed fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill which would prevent the EPA from issuing the Federal Implementation Plan to States that don’t submit plans for existing power plant regulations under the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan.’

In May 2015, Blunt co-sponsored the bipartisan Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act, legislation to rollback President Obama’s burdensome EPA greenhouse gas regulations for both new and existing power plants.

In December 2014, he filed comments urging the EPA to withdraw the proposed rule for existing power plants. In January 2014, he led a bipartisan group of 21 Senators in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to stop punishing the most vulnerable American families with higher utility bills.

Missouri Impact:

Missourians have historically relied on coal to power over 80 percent of our electricity and, as a result, enjoyed below average electricity rates in 2012. A study by Energy Venture Analysis on the effects of the CPP, as proposed, combined with several recent EPA power plant regulations, found that Missourians’ annual electric and gas utility bills would cost around $1,000 more in 2020 as compared to 2012 – almost a 50 percent increase.

Missouri is home to 13 rural counties with persistent poverty, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Each of these counties is served by a rural electric cooperative. Rural electric cooperatives serve 93 percent of the nation’s persistent poverty counties and are almost 80 percent dependent on coal-fired power. Therefore, ratepayers living in rural poverty are among the most vulnerable to these EPA regulations. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has warned that even a 10 percent increase in electricity prices would result in 1.2 million jobs lost in 2021, with nearly 500,000 of those in rural communities.



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